Learn beekeeping!

What am I doing this summer?

Good question. I’m teaching Integrative Biology 496: Introduction to Beekeeping.

If you are a University of Illinois student and would like to learn about the biology of Apis mellifera and how to manage a small apiary for honey or just for fun, please consider this 8-week class.  Enrollment is capped at 22 in order to maintain a reasonable student to hive ratio.

The class website is here.

21 thoughts on “Learn beekeeping!”

  1. Wow 8 week class on beeping. Here in NJ I think it’s a 2 day class. And they cram 200 people in there. That should be a good class.

    Also, there are a lot of Drones in that pic, was this recently taken?

    1. What turns a 2-day class into an 8-week class (aside from the more leisurely schedule) is the infusion of college-level biology. We’ll be covering some theories of social insect evolution, for instance, and some of the epidemiology behind bee diseases. I’m rather looking forward to it.

      The photo is from May 2008- those are Africanized bees in Tucson during swarm season. Prime drone time as you can imagine. Are you still keeping bees?

      1. Yes I’m still keeping the honey bees though I view them more as a honey crop than as a pollinator. I’m trying to maintain a population of mason bees for real pollination purposes. They only recently started waking up too. Not sure how to post links in here.



        I’m curious what you’ll be teaching about CCD. There is a video on Youtube that makes loads of sense and points the finger on neonicotinoides. At the very least someone should be trying to recreate their findings.

  2. Apis mellifera carnica über alles. 🙂

    I worked in an outdoor experiment for a few months last autumn. I have thought of keeping a colony or two at home, but due to allergic reactions (I got stung three times in two months) I’m opting on the no side for the time being. But if you like farming and insects, this is probably a course for you!

  3. Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen

    I followed a proffessional course of beekeeping in Belgium (six weeks in 1986.) and worked two years with bees at our local university. If my wife wasn’t allergic and didn’t hate insects I would have tens of beehives and formicaries … but now I have none … Did make that choice long ago and I don’t regret it (I love her to much!).

    But I must say: For everybody that has the possebility, follow a beekeeping class. Learn to work with those little animals and learn a lot about them AND from them. It is an experience that you will never forget!

  4. Hey, cool! Just fyi. In the Philippines, keeping Trigona stingless honeybees is being encouraged because of the problems of varroa mites, nosema and other diseases. Interestingly, these bees can be kept in an irregular stack of empty coconut shells. The bees then partition their “hive” so that one or more coconut shell has brood, another pollen, and another honey. So harvesting is a simple matter of choosing the right coconut shell. And to divide the colony, you simply separate the brood shells. The bees will figure things out for themselves and produce a new queen.

    1. With coconuts? That’s really cool. I used to keep Tetragonisca in Paraguay, but they weren’t quite so easy. The honey harvest was always something of a slaughter.

  5. What if you wanted to take it but were allergic to bee stings? Not that I’m allergic to stings or am even in college yet.

    And hey, why all the drones in the picture?

  6. Beekeeping looks so…beautiful! I’m capable of staring at those glass-covered demo bee colonies for hours… so much to look at!

    So jealous you have classes like this. Our university is apparently too big to offer anything so hands-on and specialised…

  7. You don’t need a university class to learn bee keeping. I may be wrong as you live in a different environment and society, but over here (Slovenia), the bee keeping lobby is pretty strong. There are literally hundreds of bee keepers, and most of them are jolly lads and often ready and willing to offer assistance to a newcomer. Perhaps try contacting a local.

  8. Pingback: Learn beekeeping! « Myrmecos Blog | Beekeeping Central

  9. Alex,

    really glad to hear you’ll be back in the beekeeping game! I just did my first session of the season. We lost five of our 21 hives so far, but will be doing our first round of queen rearing in a few weeks. We’re aiming for 30 hives this year. Few things are more enjoyable in life than tending a docile flock of bees.

    1. Awesome. If you’re out this summer, you’ll have to come out to the bee yard with us. I’m thinking of added a couple top-bar hives to the student apiary just to mix it up a little, provided we have enough bees after this year’s CCD…

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