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Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers Association

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2024 SEMBA Beginning Bee School

  • 15 Apr 2024
  • 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM
  • Tollgate or Bowers
  • 12


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Welcome to YOUR local farm! Owned and operated by Bloomfield Hills Schools (BHS) since 1967, the Bowers School Farm has been a place for schools and our community to gather and celebrate agriculture. Now, more than ever, food, farming, and the outdoors are essential to healthy living and harmony with the world around us. With over 93 acres of forest, fields, gardens, and barns, there is always something new to explore.


    1219 E Square Lake Rd,
    Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
  • In 1987, all of the buildings and the east 60 acres of the 160 acres were donated to MSU by the Americana Foundation, a Foundation established by Adolph and Ginger Meyer. MSU has access to the remaining 100 acres under a lease agreement with the foundation. Ownership of the property by MSU ensures that Tollgate’s beautiful farm setting will remain free from the effects of the rapid development that is common throughout southeast Michigan. The farm includes 70 acres of open pasture land and hayfields, 40 acres of woods, a pond, an arboretum, beautifully maintained buildings and horticultural demonstration gardens.


    Address: 28115 Meadowbrook Road Novi, MI 48377

Registration is closed

2024 SEMBA Bee School Overview

Welcome to SEMBA’s Beginning Bee School. This ten-month course introduces new and aspiring beekeepers to the vast world of beekeeping. Through a combination of presentations from national experts, classroom time and hands-on experience, students work closely with a team of proficient beekeeper instructors to learn what to expect and how to manage the first year of keeping honey bees. The course applies sustainable beekeeping practices and exposes students to a broad spectrum of beekeeping information and experience including, but not limited to, the biology of the honey bee, their connection to the pollinators who share their habitats, honey bee health, pests and diseases, seasonal hive management, tools of the trade, and products from the hives. The course goal is to position participants to become successful beekeepers for years to come.

Students are not required to keep bees in order to take this class. Many students choose to wait a year before starting their own apiary. Those that keep bees during the class year will raise one colony in the community bee yard, at the respective class sites, and move them to their permanent locations in the fall. Campus apiaries can only support one colony per student. Therefore, students opting to keep more than one colony must secure other location sites for those colonies. 

There is much to discover through this combination of academic and hands-on learning. The material presented is designed to have a direct impact on participants’ success in beekeeping and colony health. While attendance is not mandatory, lack of attendance can be detrimental to meeting the course goals. Therefore, please consider your schedule when committing to this class and/or location. 

Given SEMBA’s mission of sustainability, through close collaboration with SEMBA’s beekeeping community, the Michigan Beekeepers Association (MBA), and Michigan State University Pollinator Extension Services, students will have the opportunity to purchase Michigan bred nucleus (‘nuc’) colonies to start their beekeeping journeys.

Our Class and Beeyard schedule for 2024

#01 –  Jan 28 - Introduction: Sharing the Joy of Bees.  (virtual)

#02 – Feb 25- Understanding Bees -What Do Bees Need? What do beekeepers need?

#03 – Mar 24 - What Happened in the Winter Apiary?  A year in the life of a bee.

#04 – Apr 28 - Swarms, Nucs & Splits. Preparing for the arrival of your bees.

#05 – May 19 - Checking Up on Your Expanding Bee Colony.

#06 – June 9 - Bee Biology. Learning how to take and test samples.

#07 – July 14- Pests and Pathogens, Treatment and Feeding—winter begins in August

#08 – Aug 11 - Honey Harvest and Are Your Hives Ready for Winter?

#09 – Sep 8 - Maintenance and Robbing. Mite Load Monitoring, Final winterizing.

#10 – Oct 13 – Honey Tasting Class and wrap-party

Our Beginning Bee School program will be offered at two locations this year: 

  1. MSU Extensions Tollgate Farm at Twelve Mile Rd. and Meadow Brook rd. Novi. 

  2. Bowers Farm School at Square Lake and Adams Road, Bloomfield.

All locations will host class from 1:00pm - 3:30pm, Sunday

Tuition: $400 per person. Tuition includes the required textbook, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, Caron and Connor ($50) and your required SEMBA dues. For existing members signing up for this class series, your SEMBA membership will be extended an additional year.

For couples/families adding a second person (i.e. your spouse, child, etc), the tuition will be reduced to $335 but will cover the $5 increase for a family membership. A second book or nuc box can be purchased if required for the guest registration.

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