We run an annual beginners course in March/April each year which gives people an introduction to beekeeping.
The course is based on the syllabus of the Scottish Beekeepers Association Basic Beekeeping Certificate - considered to be all the basic requirements a beekeeper should know.
The details below are for the 2024 course with an application form at the bottom of the page.
The course comprises 3 theory lectures and 3 practical themed lectures. The lectures are given by different members who have been keeping bees for many years.
The theory lectures are held on a Wednesday evening and cover the following topics:
- The lifecycle of the honeybee, bumblebee, and wasp
- Equipment used in beekeeping (with a variety of equipment available to see and look at)
- The Beekeeping Year
The practical aimed lectures are held on a Saturday and consist of a morning theory lecture at 11:00 and a visit to our training apiary in the afternoon at 13:30 to put the theory into practice.
The following topics are covered in these 3 lectures:
- Basic information about opening a hive
- All about swarming
- Keeping Healthy Bees
(Note: Lecture order may be changed to accommodate speaker availability and the order above is just an indication)
The course is currently held at The Carrick Centre in Maybole, in the Crossraguel room at the rear of the building.
Wednesday evening sessions start at 7:30 pm and Saturday morning sessions at 11:00.
For Saturday sessions lunch can be purchased at the Carrick Centre Cafe but is not included in the cost of the course.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2021 course was held online and the lectures were all recorded, if you are unable to make any of the sessions this year - or just want to watch it again! - We have video recordings of all 6 lectures available to participants. We also make available copies of the slides and notes for each lecture.
The course costs £60 per person, with juniors (under 18) being charged at £10.
(Juniors must be accompanied by an adult enrolled on the course)
This is made up of:
- Annual Membership of Ayr Beekeepers £15
- Lectures Costs - £45 (This works out at £7.50 per lecture)
Annual membership of Ayr Beekeepers entitles you to attend all our meetings throughout the year, including those after the course has finished until December 2024.
Annual Membership of the Scottish Beekeepers Association is £40 (primary member), £20 for an additional adult, and £10 for an additional junior.
The Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) is a separate charity (SC009345) representing beekeepers in Scotland and providing its members with insurance.
Please note Scottish Beekeepers Association Membership is required to visit our club apiary. If you are not already an existing member of the SBA please include this in your enrolment. For existing members or anyone joining the SBA directly, you must bring your SBA membership card on or before the first apiary visit.
The table below gives example costings:
|Cost for 1 Adult
|Cost for 2 Adults
|Cost for 1 Adult + 1 Junior
|Ayr Beekeepers Membership
|Junior Cost (membership + Course)
|SBA Membership Additional Adult
|SBA Additional Junior
|Course Cost (inc membership)
|SBA membership (sent to SBA if included)
|Cost with SBA Membership
The dates for the course are:
Wednesday 27th March 2024 @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 3rd April 2024 @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 10th April 2024 @ 7:30pm
Saturday 20th April 2024 @ 11:00am
Saturday 27th April 2024 @ 11:00am
Saturday 4th May 2024 @ 11:00am
I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the course. I already knew I definitely wanted to keep bees, but the course has made me even more enthusiastic about it. The association members seem such a friendly bunch, I'm looking forward to this new hobby becoming a new feature of my social life too! - Matthew (2021 virtual course)
I know nothing about beekeeping but I am very interested in learning, as I hope to retire in a couple of years and would then like to keep bees. I have enjoyed the virtual lectures but I am looking forward to being able to meet beekeepers and finding a new hobby for myself . - Jane (2021 - virtual course)
Great course we'll presented and good coverage - Sue (2021 virtual course)
An excellent introduction to bees and keeping. The team are helpful, knowledgeable and always happy to help and share their insight. This introductory course is invaluable if you are considering keeping bees and the balance between theory and hands on experience is excellent. I know feel better equipped to look after bees and know that the Association is there to help me. - Andy (2019)
Overall an excellent course run by learned and enthusiastic, professional beekeepers who really want you to succeed and enjoy beekeeping. - Jan (2019)
Fantastic experience, learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed the hands on experience with bees, definitely would recommend course . - June (2019)
If you are thinking of delving into the world of beekeeping or you are just interested in these fascinating little creatures then this course is well worth attending and provides excellent value for money (don't think of the one-off fee but of the cost per hour for all the hours of training you'll get!). The course stretches from the basics and touches on the more 'complicated' aspects of beekeeping without being too heavy on the detail. The members are also very friendly and helpful and you will gain a lot more from the course than anything you watch on YouTube! It confirmed what I thought I knew about beekeeping and importantly what I didn't know about the subject, but overall it has given me the confidence to start raising my own bees safe in the knowledge that help is at hand whenever I need it. A big thank you to everyone involved in the course! - Patrick (2019)
The beginner's course provides a solid foundation for those wishing to take up beekeeping. A good balance was maintained between theory and hands-on practice. The course was also friendly, sociable, and very enjoyable. - John (2019)