An Introduction to Bee Keeping

267 TUTOR: Fiona Robinson (Wiltshire Bee Centre)

This course is designed to give you the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience required to confidently start beekeeping. You will learn about the life cycle of the honey bee, the equipment involved with beekeeping, colony management, pests and diseases and swarm control, along with practical sessions that will cover how to safely handle honey bees and inspect hives. There will be four sessions in the classroom and, weather permitting, one session will be spent in the tutor's own apiary.

Course Notes


Life cycle


Bee community


Beekeeping year

Hive Records

Plants and Forage


Pests and Diseases

Products of the hive


Swarm control

Swarm Collecting

Bee Stings and First Aid

Setting up an apiary and getting started.


In the Apiary

Opening hives and learning to handle bees

Background reading list

No reading is essential and handouts will be provided. There are many, many books on the market and the tutor will bring several for students to peruse during the course.

Essential equipment for students to bring

While notes are provided, please bring pen and paper.

On the Apiary day bee jackets will be provided, but please dress appropriately:

- long trousers, preferably not jeans (bees don't like them) - but the main requirement is loose - skin tight leggings are not advisable

- sensible footwear that will cover your ankles - wellies, or at least 2 pairs of thick socks to tuck your trousers into

- avoid strong scents/perfumes/aftershave - these can attract or aggravate the bees

Please bring a new pair of Marigold-type gloves.

Course Tutor

Fiona Robinson

Wiltshire Bee Centre

About Fiona

Fiona Robinson has kept bees for 20 years both here and in Australia, and professionally for the last 7 years. She has been running the Wiltshire Bee Centre with her husband, Terry Cooke, for the last 5 years and has taught beekeeping at many levels for several years.

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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM