General Overview:  This course is designed for beginning beekeepers to learn about the biology of the honey bee, the bee hive, tools and protective gear, feeding, seasonal management and honey extraction, as well as the identification and treatment options for honey bee disease and other pests. Classes include lectures and hands on field experience in onsite hives. Textbook is required. 

Course Coordinators:

Location and Schedule:

The first 2 sessions are on Saturdays at Wayne County Community College, 9555 Haggerty Road, Belleville, MI 48111

The remainder will be (mostly) on Sundays at MSU Tollgate Education Center, at the Activities Building, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48115

Classes start: 10:00am to 1pm Saturdays, except as noted

Note: If you miss the first session you can still attend the full course and catch up. No new students will be enrolled after the second session. 


    Classes are for SEMBA Members only. Annual SEMBA membership is $10 for individual and $15 for family

    Class Tuition: $TBD per person for class only. Tuition does not include bees, equipment or supplies

    Discounted tuition is $TBD per person, if you keep your own beehive at the SEMBA apiary.

    Please contact us if you wish to order bees or hive kits. (Bees may be purchased from SEMBA for $TBD for a three pound package with a queen)  

    All participants must properly maintain all items left at the course site and conduct themselves in a friendly and helpful manner, following all rules. For example, students must timely remove hives and all other equipment and belongings from the course site; anything left will be auctioned with the proceeds going towards costs, expenses, etc.

    Course Sessions


    (1) Sat, Mar 3; 10-1 pm WCCC - Introduction
    (2) Sat, April 7; 10-1 pm WCCC - Equipment Build

    (3) Sun, Apr 15; 10-1 pm Tollgate – The Bees Are Coming, The Bees Are Coming

                              2-4 pm– SEMBA Membership Meeting with Meghan Milbrith

    (4)  Apr 23 or later: Ghost Date Evening at Tollgate, TBD. Due to cold weather down south,

    bee arrival date may be later. 

    (5) Apr 29; 10-1 pm Check on queens

    Assuming bee packages arrive in time, we will meet on April 29 to check on queens.

    (6) May 20; 10-1 pm Tollgate - What’s happening in the hive? Problems -possibilities
    (7) June 3; 10-1 pm Tollgate - More on what’s happening and what to do
    (8) June 24; 10-1 pm Tollgate - Pivotal time in the bee yard
    (9) July 15; 10-1 pm Tollgate - Status of hive treatments
    (10) Aug 5; 10-1 pm Tollgate – Honey for Humans; Honey for Bees
    (11) Aug 19; Evening Tollgate – Hive Removal
    (12) Sept 9; 10-1 pm Tollgate- Honey Extraction
    (13) Sept 23; 10-1 pm Tollgate - Winterizing your hive

    Required Text:
    We will be assigning reading assignments from Honey Bee Biology by Dewey
    Caron with Larry Connor. If you wish to purchase the book from SEMBA, our
    discounted rate is $TBD.  
    How to Register:
    Submit the “Application for SEMBA's 2018 Beekeeping Course for Beginners”
    and pay tuition. Registration will continue until the course is filled. Class size is
    limited to 40 students. 2019 Class registration will be announced at a later date
    Attendance at each session is important since it is difficult to duplicate hive
    conditions for non-attendees. Reading the text is also required.

    Students will participate in hands-on training in our onsite apiary (bee yard).
    Because this is a shared yard, all equipment and protective clothing must be
    clean, new and uncontaminated. Each student will need to purchase
    protective clothing and tools (see “Suggested Gear” below).

    Students do not need to to have any equipment prior to start of course.
    Instructors will provide information on equipment selection, purchase options and

    All participants must properly maintain all items at the course site and conduct
    themselves in a friendly and helpful manner, following all rules. 

    Suggested Gear (Clean, new and uncontaminated.):
     Bee veil (generally attached to a suit, jacket or hood)
     Bee suit or jacket
     Bee gloves
     Work boots or shoes (with protective ankle wraps, optional)
     Hive tool (and, optionally, a bee brush)
     Smoker (with appropriate fuel)
    Suggested Hive Components:
     Telescoping outer cover (for eight-frame hive) with metal (galvanized) roof
     Inner cover (for eight-frame hive) made with wood (no Masonite) with a notch
     At least six (seven is better) medium (6 inch deep) wood hive bodies/supers/boxes (for eight-frame hive)
     At least 48 (56 is better) frames (w/wedge tops) for medium hive bodies/supers/boxes (eight frames/box)
     At least 48 (56 is better) sheets of vertically wired wax foundation with hooks for medium frames
     Screen bottom board with inspection tray (for eight-frame hive)
     Hive stand (non-wood is better, such as four concrete blocks)
     One (two or more is better) quart jar with lid that is water tight
     Wood top feeder with floats (for eight-frame hive)
     Entrance reducer (not needed if the 3/4 inch risers on your bottom board are cut down to 5/16 inch)
     Queen excluder (optional) - plastic for eight-frame hive is preferred)

     New package of bees with a queen (recommended purchasing through SEMBA)