Beginners Course

We run an annual beginners course in March/April each year which gives people an introduction to beekeeping. We normally provide participants with course materials, access to our training apiary, and full protective clothing for visits to the apiary.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, this year's course will be in a different format to our normal course and will be held virtually.

The details below are for the 2021 virtual course.

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
  • The Beekeeping Year

The practical aimed lectures are held on a Saturday and consist of a morning lecture. Normally an afternoon visit to our training apiary is also included but this year due to ongoing social distancing requirements we are not currently planning for these visits to take place. 

The following topics covered in these 3 lectures:

  • Basic information about opening a hive
  • All about swarming
  • All about pests and diseases

Theory-Lectures
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Venue

The course is being held virtually this year and will be held on Microsoft Teams.

Wednesday evening sessions start at 7:30 pm and Saturday morning sessions at 11:00 am.

The links to joining the meeting will be provided in advance.

We are exploring the option of recording the lectures and making these available to participants if they are unable to make any of the dates.

Cost

The cost of the course is usually £100, but this year has been reduced due to the practical visits to the apiary not taking place. The 2021 virtual course costs are below.

Annual Membership of Ayr Beekeepers £15
Lectures Costs - £30 (This works out at £5 per lecture)

Annual members of Ayr Beekeepers entitles you to attend all our meetings throughout the year, including all of those after the course has finished. Due to Coronavirus most of our summer meetings last year were cancelled, and it is currently not known what the situation will be this year.

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. If we are able to attend our training apiary later in the year an SBA membership will be required, but this can be purchased later in the year, or included now with the course fee.

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
Lecture Costs £30.00 £30.00 £60.00 £30.00
Junior Cost (Membership + Course) £5.00 £5.00
SBA Membership £40.00 £40.00 £40.00 £40.00
SBA Membership Additional Adult £20.00 £20.00
SBA Membership Additional Junior £10.00 £10.00
Course Cost £45.00 £90.00 £50.00
Cost with SBA Membership £85.00 £150.00 £100.00

 

Dates

Dates for the course are:

Wednesday 17th March @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 24th March @ 7:30pm
Wednesday 31st March @ 7:30pm

Saturday 10th April @ 11:00am
Saturday 17th April @ 11:00am
Saturday 24th April @ 11:00am

Testimonials

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)

Due to the time requirements to process applications and grant access to virtual events, applications received the day of the course may not be processed in time for the first session.