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2016 Beekeeping Class Series

Bee part of the solution!

Come join us in discovering the amazing world of honeybees and beekeeping.


Learn how to keep your own bees in our series of hands-on classes and labs. Experience the culture of the honeybee as you foster your connection to the land and each other

while gaining experience in keeping your own bees.

These workshops were designed to support new beekeepers through the first season.
Participants have an opportunity to learn this fascinating skill with the support of the instructor and a community of other new beekeepers.  Our class will take you through an entire season with your bees.

Class materials and methods will focus on the Top Bar Hive, a natural means of raising bees. Top Bar Hives are an appropriate technology hive; they have proven to be a great system for backyard and small scale hobbyist. All hive methods can be taught and addressed.

Location: Classes are held at the Growing Gardens Greenhouse 1630 Hawthorn Ave,
Boulder, CO 80304, unless otherwise indicated

Time: 9am to 12pm

Cost: $400 per person this includes a $20 instructional materials fee and supplies.

Beekeepers with some experience are welcome to register and drop-in any class for a fee of $60.00


Class Structure:

  • 8 classes, one weekend day per month March - October.

  • 3 hour sessions include discussions of current activity in the hive followed by practice and observation in the bee yard.

  • Classes will be held at the Growing Gardens Greenhouse, 1630 Hawthorn Boulder, Co.

  • Note: The June 25th and July 30th sessions are practical labs. These labs are off-site and are four hours in length. (The classes will meet at 9am at the greenhouse, and then travel to the off site lab location)

  • Informational material will be provided at each session.

 To register, call Megan at 303-443-9952303-443-9952 or email megan@growinggardens.org. Online registration will be available in January.


Here's the Buzz about our Beekeeping Instructor:
Tracy Bellehumeur has been raising bees for eight years using natural methods in top bar and langstroth hives. She also teaches for the Boulder County Beekeepers Association, specializing in honeybee pests and diseases, and for the Denver Botanical Gardens. She is passionate, enthusiastic and will patiently walk you through all your questions as a first year beekeeper.  She's an avid gardener and crafter when she has time from mothering and working as a hydrogeologist. An interview with Tracy can be found at: www.inspiredbeeing.com/2011/06/09/thefarmgirls/.


Growing Gardens sells a limited number of
Top Bar bee hives in the Spring. Hives will
be ready for pick up by the end of March.

They are handmade by a local craftsman
and the proceeds from the sales support
our programs.

Check back in 2017 to order. We're sold out for 2016!


For registration questions contact Megan at megan@growinggardens.org

For programming questions contact Tracy at tracy@growinggardens.org


Growing Gardens Beekeeping Series

Class Schedule and Content Brief

Class I: Introduction to Top Bar Beekeeping

Date: Saturday, March 12th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

This class will cover expectations and an introduction to keeping bees in your back yard.  We will have an opportunity to meet our fellow beekeepers. There will be a demonstration hive available for inspection and plans for building your own top bar hive.


Class II: Understanding the Bees

Date: Saturday, April 2nd Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

In this class we will focus on basic honeybee biology, the caste and rolls of bees that live in a colony and cover the ecology of honeybees. In the lab we will learn about hive preparation, location, how to install packaged bees or swarms, and what to look for in your new expanding colony.


Class III: Honeybee Colony Care I

Date: Saturday, April 30th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

In this class we will share how our colonies are settling in.  You will learn how to handle combs, trouble-shoot problems, manage build-up, and maintain the overall health. The lab will apply the knowledge gained from the class through hands-on beekeeping. 


Class IV: Honeybee Colony Care II

Date: Saturday, June 4th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

We will review how to maintain healthy colonies and what this looks like, and discuss how to recognize pests and diseases, and what you can do to support your bees. In the lab we will review proper handling of combs, assessing queen vitality and brood development and we will learn how to observe honey flow and colony strength through the seasons.  We will spend the last hour doing a hive inspection at a nearby hive, weather permitting.


Class V: Practical Lab I *off-site* (The class will meet at 9am at the greenhouse, and then travel to the off site lab location)

Date: Saturday, June 25th Time: 9:00am-1:00pm

In this lab you will have the opportunity to gain confidence and familiarity with honeybees and learn how to work a top-bar hive successfully. You will gain knowledge in how to manage hives for optimum honey production and colony health. We may begin to harvest honeycomb.


Class VI: Practical Lab II *off-site* (The class will meet at 9am at the greenhouse, and then travel to the off site lab location)

Date: Saturday, July 30th Time: 9:00am-1:00pm

This lab will give you a chance to improve your skills and gain more experience handling combs and bees. We may be able to harvest honey. We will discuss and practice sustainable techniques for monitoring and preventing diseases and parasites.


Class VII: Fall and Winter Care

Date: Saturday, August 27th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

In this class we will review methods and preparations for maintaining a healthy hive. We will also learn alternative honey processing techniques. We will also learn the steps needed to prepare the hives for winter and demonstrate a variety of winterization techniques unique to top bar hive management.


Class VIII: Honeybees Give Us More than Honey

Date: Sunday, October 1st Time: 9:00am-1:00pm

Here we will learn how to process wax and how to make mold candles, salves, medicinal honey syrup, honey ointment and lip balms. This practical lab will be devoted to making samples of these various products and enjoying the fruits of your labor. 


Advanced Beekeeping Class for Returning Students

Date: Saturday, April 9th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

This class is for beekeepers who have overwintered their hives and are wondering what to do next. You will learn how to help prevent crowding and swarming in a Top Bar or Langstroth, and how to make a split to expand your apiary or just to help propagate a good colony. We will also go over spring management practices and how to monitor for potential problems. Bring all your questions.


See what our past students had to say about our beekeeping class series:

"I've gained a great deal of confidence which allows me to work in my hive. I understand the life cycle of bees, how to identify a healthy queen, how to identify worker brood, drone brood, workers, drones, queens, how to keep my bees healthy and strong."


"Tracy has been an amazing teacher! She is so eager to share resources with students and is very passionate about bees! She inspires confidence in students!"


"The best part was actually getting into a hive. It was also helpful to hear about the experience of other bee keepers."


"Tracy has been such a wonderful teacher! Her passion and enthusiasm for bees is infectious and I very much appreciate how available she has been to support students outside of class and her sharing of resources with the students."

Growing Gardens Payment and Refund Policies

Growing Gardens Program Waivers


Thank you to our Honeybees program sponsors!