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Beekeeping Series

Bee part of the solution!

Register for Beekeeping Classes Here!

Learn how to keep your own bees in our series of hands-on classes and labs with the support of an experienced beekeeper and community.

"This class was INVALUABLE. Tracy is an excellent instructor--very kind and helpful. She provided awesome resources along with helpful contacts and guidance outside of class. I am deeply appreciative and would recommend this class to anyone wishing to learn more about keeping bees." - Student

These workshops are designed to support new beekeepers through their first season of beekeeping. Participants have the opportunity to learn this fascinating skill through an entire season of beekeeping with the support of an experienced instructor and a community of other new beekeepers. 

Beekeeping has become challenging with the advent of the Varroa mite, pesticides, and spread of disease, so it’s important to learn about what you can do to help your bees through an entire season. This series gives you the confidence to get into your hive regularly and discover just what your bees are up to.  

Class materials and methods will focus on the most natural methods for beekeeping, including Top Bar Hives and Langstroth hives (without a foundation), however, all management styles are welcome. 

Class Schedule | March - October | Descriptions below:

  • Introduction to Beekeeping, Mon. March 11th 5:30-8:30pm
  • Understanding the Bees, Mon. April 8th  5:30-8:30pm
  • Managing Your New Colony, Mon. April 22nd 5:30-8:30pm
  • Healthy Colonies: Pests & Diseases, Mon. May 13th 5:30-8:30pm
  • Practical Lab I, Sat. June 1st 9am-1pm  Offsite class
  • Practical Lab II, Sat. July 13th 9am-1pm Offsite class
  • Fall and Winter Care, Mon. August 26th  5:30-8:30pm
  • Honeybees Give Us More than Honey, Mon. Oct. 7th 5:30-8:30pm

Cost: $400 per person for entire series, includes materials and supplies.

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

1 partial scholarship available. Request a scholarship application from [email protected]

 Location: Growing Gardens,1630 Hawthorn Ave, Boulder, CO 80304 (except field classes 1 & 2)


Other Classes:

Advanced Beekeeping (not part of the series), March 4th, 5:30-8:30pm  - $60 

Native Bees (not part of the series), Sun. July 14th, 9am-12pm - $65, includes bamboo nesting block 


The Buzz on our Beekeeping Instructor:

Tracy Bellehumeur has been raising bees for nine 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, Boulder Public Library, and for the Denver Botanical Gardens. She is passionate, enthusiastic and will patiently walk you through all your questions as a first-year beekeeper.  Tracy is also one of the BeeChicas who manages beehives on the roof of the Boulder Public library and offers workshops to all ages through the library, in addition to helping organize the annual Boulder’s Pollinator Appreciation.  More information on Tracy can be found at BeeFarmgirl and BeeChicas on Instagram, and Beechicas.com



We have Top Bar bee hives available for sale for $200 each! Click here to purchase yours today.

They are handmade by a local craftsman, all proceeds support our programs.

Top Bar Hives have proven to be a great system for backyard and small scale hobbyist. Langstroth hives are the most common hives in beekeeping today and should provide you with an excess of honey in your second year 


For programming questions, contact Tracy at [email protected]

Growing Gardens Beekeeping Series

Class Schedule and Content Brief

Class 1: Introduction to Beekeeping

Date: Monday, March 11th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

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 demonstration hives (of both Top Bar and Langstroth) available for inspection to help you choose the style of hive that suits your needs.  Plans for building your own top bar hive will also be provided. We will learn about the ideal location for a honeybee colony and how to prepare your hive for a new colony. 


Class 2: Understanding the Bees 

Date: Monday, April 8th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

In this class we will focus on honeybee biology, the caste and roles of bees that live in a colony and cover the ecology of honeybees. This is a fascinating class with slides and is not to be missed! After the slide, there will be a demonstration on how to prepare your apiary and install packaged bees or swarms, and what to look for in your new expanding colony.


Class 3: Honeybee Colony Care I

Date: Monday, April 22nd  Time5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

In this class, we will share how our colonies are settling in. You will learn about what to look for in your new expanding colony, how to handle combs or frames, trouble-shoot problems, and how to manage rapid Spring build-up and overall health. Please bring your protective gear in the event that we can visit a nearby hive at the beginning of class, weather permitting. 


Class 4: Healthy Colony and Pests & Diseases  

Date: Monday, May 13th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

Learn what a healthy colony looks, behaves, and even smells like, then you will understand how to recognize pests and diseases in a hive. What does a healthy brood pattern look like and how can you assess queen vitality?  We will learn best beekeeping practices to manage varroa mites and how to protect and identify pests and diseases.  A strong colony in the fall is key to surviving our Colorado winter, so help your bees thrive through the spring and summer.  Please bring your protective gear, as we will visit a nearby hive at the beginning of class to inspect how our colonies are settling in, weather permitting. 


Class 5: Practical Lab I *off-site*

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

Location: Meet at Growing Gardens at 9am, then travel to off site lab location.

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 (next lab will be a Langstroth hive inspection). 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. 


Class 6: Practical Lab II *off-site* 

Location: Meet at Growing Gardens at 9am, then travel to off-site lab location.

The final part of the lab is devoted to honey. Learn about crystallization and medicinal & health benefits, all while tasting over 25 different honey varietals.  


Date: Saturday, July 13th  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 will inspect Langstroth hives depending on which type of hives were inspected in Practical Lab 1. We may be able to harvest honey. We will discuss and practice sustainable techniques for monitoring and preventing diseases and parasites.


Class 7: Fall and Winter Care

Date: Monday, August 26th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

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


Class 8: Honeybees Give Us More than Honey

Date: Monday, October 7th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

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: Monday, March 4th  Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder


Cost: $60

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, how to monitor for potential problems, and how to catch swarms. Be prepared for a slide show and discussion, bring all your questions.


Native Bees in Our Backyards

Date: Sunday, July 14th  Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Avenue, Boulder

Cost: $65, plus a $6 materials fee for bamboo nesting block



Come learn about the native bees responsible for our landscape and many of the fruits and vegetables that we eat. Learn about their life cycle and how they rely on the unique plants around them. Learn to tell the difference between bees, wasps, and flies.  After a slide presentation and discussion, we will go outside to create a bamboo nesting block for your own backyard and spend some time catching and identifying these pollinators right here in our community gardens. You will notice insects and blooms in a whole new way! Bring a sun hat and butterfly net if you have one.

Class size: 30 students


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!"


"I was already aware of honeybees as pollinators and had already taken a basic beekeeping class through NCBA, but this HANDS ON class was FABULOUS in terms of really developing my practical beekeeping skills and comfort around the bees."


"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."


Thank you to our Honeybee program sponsors!