Farm and Ranch
Basics of beekeeping for beginners starts Oct. 5 online
By Susan Himes, Texas A&M
Oct 3, 2021
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Four-part series covers honey bee hives, biology, beekeeping equipment

Beekeeping 101 will take place as a series of virtual-live trainings in October. There will also be an optional in-person field day.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service workshop is for those looking to learn more about beekeeping and start their own hives. The online course will run live from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 5, Oct. 6, Oct. 12 and Oct. 13. 

The series costs $45, and advance registration is required at The event will also be recorded for registered participants who can’t attend online at the time of the live broadcast. A beekeeping resources kit with catalogs, fact sheets and additional materials will be mailed to participants at the address they provided when registering.

“Beekeeping is a hobby that has increased in interest over the past several years due to a combination of factors: media attention of a decline of honey bee populations, the need to increase pollination in an individual’s landscape, the desire for environmental stewardship, homesteading popularity, producing honey and other byproducts of bees, and for those looking to get an ag exemption for their property taxes,” said course instructor Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension senior program specialist and board certified entomologist, San Antonio.

The online beekeeping course will cover the basics for beginners who want to start a hive. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

An optional field day will take place in the Leon Springs area of far northwest San Antonio, located south of Boerne. Participants may choose between an Oct. 8 or Oct. 16 field day option when registering. Details will be confirmed via email to registered participants once location details are finalized.

Beekeeping 101

The course dates and topics for Beekeeping 101 are as follows:

– Oct. 5: Honey Bee Biology.
– Oct. 6: Beekeeping Basics.
– Oct. 12: What to Expect the First Year.
– Oct. 13: Risks to Honey Bees – Pests and Others.

Keeping, managing bees

“You don’t need much land to keep bees, you just have to be committed to managing the bees if you are in a smaller space,” Keck said. “There are plenty of urban, backyard beekeepers and even rooftop beekeepers. But for an ag exemption, you need a minimum of 5 acres and no more than 20 acres can be used for the ag exemption.”

The course will cover the basics of beekeeping to prepare participants to have their own hives by covering honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, managing a hive and pest management. Interaction with instructors will also help guide participants in learning what to expect during their early years as a beekeeper.

Keck said the focus of the course is very much “how to do, what to buy, where to buy” for beekeeping.