Rolla Bee Club 2019 Basic Beekeeping Classes

RBC 2018 Class Tom Miller.jpg

Rolla Bee Club 2019 Basic Beekeeping Classes

It’s almost that time of year again, when would-be beekeepers take the plunge and take their first class to learn how to keep bees. Most Missouri beekeeping clubs hold their beginning classes in the winter because bees are tucked in their hives and beekeepers have more time to spend teaching.

I have been teaching basic beekeeping classes for five years and thoroughly enjoy introducing new potential beekeepers to the art, and science, of keeping honeybees.

Registration is now open for three Rolla Bee Club basic beekeeping classes. The non-profit, educational organization will have two basic beekeeping classes January 26, 2019 and February 23, 2019 at Brownwood Estates Clubhouse from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The third class is for second year beekeepers and will be held March 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. also at Brownwood Estates Clubhouse.

Cost is $50 which includes class materials, a catered lunch and refreshments. Class size is limited.  To register, send your name, email and phone number to and a check to David Draker, 1951 Monterey Drive, Rolla, Mo. 65401. Deadline to pre-register for the January 26 class is Friday, January 4, 2019.

Gift certificates are also available. Order class gift certificates by December 15, 2018 by emailing and by calling (573) 578-0561.

The basic beekeeping classes will include basic bee behavior and biology; beekeeping equipment needs and costs; how to properly use beekeeping equipment, how to set up bee hives and how to get bee colonies through their first winter.

The second year class will focus on basic beekeeping skills to be a successful beekeeper.

All instructors are active beekeepers with more than 25 years of beekeeping between them.

Rolla Bee Club is a Missouri 501© 3 non-profit educational organization supporting beekeeping class students and area beekeepers. Rolla Bee Club meets the 4th Sunday of the month from 2-4 p.m. at Brownwood Estates Clubhouse, 1341 California, Rolla, Mo. Social hour starts at 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome!


Beginning Beekeeping Class February 24, 2018

One of the new photo displays at our January 24, 2018 beginning beekeeping class.

One of the new photo displays at our January 24, 2018 beginning beekeeping class.

Beginning Beekeeping Class Coming Up February 24, 2018

We are getting ready for our second beginning beekeeping class in Rolla, Missouri Saturday, February 24, 2018 this year. While my dining room is still a disaster area with partially assembled diaries, to the delight of one of my cats, it's fun to take a time out to remember what it was like to be someone just getting started.

There are a lot of different classes around, some 3 hours long promising to teach everything you need to know to be a beekeeper to special weekend long courses for one technique. Our day long course 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is designed to give students what we wished we had known when we started, just the basics on what to buy as start up equipment and how to manage honeybees through the first winter. We even joke that they can't call themselves beekeepers until they successfully pull a colony through a winter.

And to make sure they are successful, my bee buddy David and I also started the Rolla Bee Club, which meets the fourth Sunday of the month at the same location as the classes, 1341 California. The monthly club meetings review what is happening with the colonies, what tasks are coming up, addresses issues and hopefully provides a support network for area beekeepers to be successful. The website also lists upcoming meeting dates, references and other helpful information.

No two years of managing honeybees is exactly the same. Having opportunities to share information, compare notes and keep track of what is going on with other beekeepers is very important to be successful. And who wants to miss out on all of the stories!

Not quite sure what story Kelly S. Bracken is sharing with a new student but it looks like a good one!

Not quite sure what story Kelly S. Bracken is sharing with a new student but it looks like a good one!

When David and I first started beekeeping, and yes the dinosaurs I'm sure where still around somewhere - we had to scrounge for information so we give our students a better experience with a basic beekeeping book we have sourced ourselves; a custom beekeeping diary to emphasize the importance of record-keeping with check lists to guide them in key decisions to set up their apiary; a catered lunch from St. James Marketplace Cafe; a natural events calendar to monitor when food sources will be blooming; several catalogs and a tube of special oatmeal "Stop the Sting" to handle their first bee stings. Cost for class registration is $50 to cover the class materials.

We also bring in equipment then can try out including beekeeping suits.

Beginning beekeeping class students get to try on beekeeping suits to get the right size.

Beginning beekeeping class students get to try on beekeeping suits to get the right size.

Now one of David's pet peeves is having to undo what people pick up watching you tube videos so we have a simple rule about that. We say don't trust anyone wearing a brand new - suit, gloves or aprons.

Let's see, yes David's apron most definitely qualifies, not too clean!

Let's see, yes David's apron most definitely qualifies, not too clean!

In addition to being able to try out equipment and discuss the pros and cons of various types of equipments, beginning beekeepers at the end of the day have the option of visiting a nearby working apiary so if you are taking this class, plan on bringing, or borrowing, a bee suit.

To pre-register, contact David at (573) 578-0561 and email rollabees at

"We think that being exposed to bees is an important part of the educational experience," David said. Since this is his apiary, I tend to agree. I also love to see the faces of people who want to keep bees having the first honeybee land on their heavily gloved hand. Priceless!



Getting Ready for Beekeeping Class

It's almost beekeeping class time!

For the third year in a row, I have been kicking off the new year teaching several basic beekeeping classes to help get others started in beekeeping.

We are not alone in mid-Missouri. The interest in hobby beekeeping has increased significantly since 2006, when bees were found to be dying in record numbers. One out of every three bites of food we eat are pollinated by bees.

Two beekeeping friends are joining me in teaching the class. It's one thing to tell students beekeepers will have different answers to most questions. It's better to demonstrate it with how beekeepers all approach the art, and science, of beekeeping differently.

In the meantime, it's time to get the beekeeping diaries together. These contain basic information I wish I had had when I started beekeeping. It also serves as a record-keeping diary so you won't forget when your bees arrived, how old the queen is and other important data to have.

And the agenda for the day?

Now don't forget to take notes, there will be a quiz at the end!



on 2015-02-21 01:48 by Home Sweet Bees

Winter weather has postponed this class to February 28, 2015 so time to read a book, or two!