2022 Beginners Course

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.

After running the course virtually in 2021 we are moving back to an in-person course for 2022, with the option to attend online, this will let you watch the course lecture and Q&A session but you will loose out on the social aspect and meeting other beekeepers to ask questions and chat.

The details below are for the 2022 course with an application form at the bottom of the page.

Structure

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

Theory-Lectures
Carrick Centre Building

Venue

The course is currently held at The Carrick Centre in Maybole, in either the Culzean or Crossraguel room, with the option to attend online.

Wednesday evening sessions start at 7:30 pm in the Culzean Room and Saturday morning sessions at 11:00 am in the Crossraguel Room.

The links to join the meeting online will be provided in advance.

Course Recordings

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 do have video recordings of all 6 of last year's lectures available to participants. We also make available copies of the slides and notes for each lecutre.

Cost

The cost of the course is £60 per person with juniors being charged at £10.

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 all of those after the course has finished until December.

Annual Membership of 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) that represents beekeepers in Scotland and provides its members with insurance cover. This is required to attend our training apiary.

The table below gives example costings:

Price Cost for 1 Adult Cost for 2 Adults Cost for 1 Adult + 1 Junior
Ayr Beekeepers Membership  £    15.00  £      15.00  £       30.00  £       15.00
Course Fees  £    45.00  £       45.00  £       90.00  £       55.00
Junior Cost (membership + Course)  £    10.00  £       10.00
SBA Membership  £    40.00  £       40.00  £       40.00  £       40.00
SBA Membership Additional Adult  £    20.00  £       20.00
SBA Additional Junior  £    10.00  £       10.00
Course Cost (inc membership)  £       60.00  £     120.00  £       80.00
SBA membership (sent to SBA if included)  £       40.00  £       60.00  £       50.00
Cost with SBA Membership  £     100.00  £     180.00  £     130.00

 

Dates

Dates for the course are:

Wednesday 23rd March @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 30th March @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 6th April @ 7:30pm

Saturday 9th April @ 11:00am
Saturday 23rd April @ 11:00am
Saturday 30th April @ 11:00am

Testimonials

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)

Enjoyed everything about this course. Everyone very welcoming and friendly. - Linda (2019)

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)