Free Online Class Syllabus

This blog post will function as a living Syllabus. Updates on major changes (like dates and time changes) will be emailed to anyone that is on the email list or gets they new letter. Links to the recorded lectures will be added here without an email update. That said the latest update was:

Last updated: Tuesday February 12th 10:30am

Beginner Beekeeping Course Syllabus

All zoom classes are free and open to anyone who wishes to attend. However, if someone would like to ask questions during or at the end of the lecture, they must 1) sign up a head of time 2) watch all perveance lechers and 3) complete all assignments up to that date. Lechers will be recorded links to those recorded will be available on this page so someone will be able to catch up if they miss a lecture. We want to foster real understanding of bee biology, that is way we are requiring you to watch passed lectures.

The HarBee Beginner Beekeeping class will take place over the course of your first year of beekeeping. “Classroom” instruction will be over zoom on Thursday evenings at 6:30pm, rather than being in class for long hours 2 days in a row. While, lechers are free field days will cost 65 dollar per person. As of now we don’t know what we will do for covid protocols. The first-class lector will be February 9th.

HarBee’s beginner beekeeping course will leave you with the tools to make informed decisions about the health of your honey bee colony and make you think like a beekeeper. Short assignments (10minutes) and a final exam (30 minutes) will enforce the principles in the also 18 hours’ worth of instruction. Each assignment is necessary to do to be able to ask your questions freely during the next lecture.

You have access to a closed Facebook group where you can ask questions and build you understanding not just using your bees but the bees of others. For a link to that group CLICK HERE

Instruction will be primarily by Pat Harrison with guess instructors on field days select lectors.

Pat Harrison has been beekeeper for 5 years and currently manages 150 colonies of bees across the northern park of New Jersey. While getting a degree in environmental science from Ramapo College Pat founded HarBee Beekeeping a beekeeping service company.

Field Days will take place at Metropolitan farms in Closter NJ.


All readings are referring to pages within the text Keeping Honey Bees Second Edition, by Malcolm T. Sanford & Richard E Bonney but subscribing to The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture is also suggested. A Free issue of the ABJ is available for download HERE

  • Field day #1 April 19 Nucs for students that pre-orders cost $200
    • How to install the nucs into the hive
    • What the next couple week will look like and honey a honeybee colony builds up.
    • Everyone student will understand how to identify egg, larva, capped brood, honey, and pollen
    • How to start a smoker
  • Field day #2 Saturday June 26th (rain date July 3rd)
    • How to Honey harvest
    • Formic treatment
    • Students will perform a mite wash, treat a hive with formic
    • Inspect a nuc that is building up well
    • A demonstration of making a mating nuc
  • Field day #3 Saturday August 28th (rain date September 4th)
    • Honey harvests
    • getting the bees ready for winter
    • Fall requeening. Students will requeen a hive,
    • Feed a hive
    • Treat a hive with Apivar.
  • Class #1 before bees February 9th
    • Honeybee lifecycle
    • Who is in the hive?
      • Understand the basic roles of each bee in a bee hive
    • Reading pages 31-51
    • Watch the recording of this lecture on YouTube
  • Class #2 February 11th
  • Class #3: February 18th 
    • NJ bee regulation
      • This will outline what someone will have to do, and build, to be a good beekeeping neighbor (Keeping bees in populated areas)
    • Equipment
      • There will be a reading beforehand of one the beekeeping books
    • Reading pages 53-57, 65-77
    • Assignment #3
    • Link to Recording
  • Class #4: March 2nd
    • Bee diseases and what to do when you see something.
    • Mite treatments and timing them with the year
    • Assignment #2
    • Reading #3 pages 159, 172-186
    • Link to Recording
  • Class #5: March 11th
    • What are you looking for in your bees the first couple weeks having your bees? What they are doing and what they should be doing?
    • Here we will talk about the difference of buying a nucleus colony, a package of bees, and an over wintered hive.
    • Assignment #4
    • Link to Recording
  • Class #6: March 18th  
    • What are my bees doing?
      • Understanding what is wrong, what is good, are my bees healthy? All will be covered
    • Assignment #5
    • Link to Recording

Field Day #1 April 24th

  • Class #7: June 10th
    • Talking about dearth, feeding 50%
    • Issues that might happen with Formic treatment 30%
    • Honey harvest dos and don’t
    • Q&A 10%
    • Assignment #6

Field Day #2 June 26th

  • Class #8: August 12th 
    • Winterizing 50%
    • What are the bees and the mites doing this time of year? 20%
    • Q&A 10%
    • Talking about want was learned outside of class 20%
    • Assignment #7

Field Day #3 August 28th

Writing Assignment

This wouldn’t be a paper or really anything long rather a demonstration that the student and write an informed social media post about bees and beekeeping. Or even to demonstrate that they can be a good and productive commenter to social media posts.

Final exam

There are many beekeepers willing, through the NJBA and other organization, to answer the questions of a curious beekeeper, but they are often frustrated with questions that could have simply googled. This test is for you demonstrate that you can answer the easy ones using the internet on your own. The final will consist of a couple practical questions that require participants to search the internet to answers basic questions.


  1. Draw a flow chart of the honey bee life cycle and at a minimum include the terms: Virgin Queen, Drone, Mated queen and swarm.
  2. What is an approved varroa treatment in the winter, summer, and fall without using the same one twice.
  3. What are some things that you will have do before you bees arrive to be in compliant with the NJ regulations? What equipment do you have? Want equipment do you need?
  4. Day one, Week 2, week 3, and Week 4 what is you plan, what is your goal, when you do into your hives?
  5. Take a photo of a healthy frame (or a not healthy frame) of brood from your hive and write want you are looking at as if you are posting it on Facebook for all your none beekeeper friends and family to educated and to brag about your awesome new hobby.
    1. OR draw with different colors representing where worker brood, drone brood, pollen, and honey would be put onto the frames from when you have a drone layer, a health queen, a queen with a spotty pattern, and laying workers.
  6. Post the weather forecast into the HarBee Beekeeping Beginners Facebook group a screen shot of the weather forecast when the weather forecast looks like you will be able to treat with formic in your area. OR send this photo to Pat by email or text and we will call you for a short chat as to if that is a good idea.
  7. A Varroa mite reduces the life of a induvial bee’s live by 20 to 80%. Why is knowing that fact important to explaining why a colony that have a large population in September died as a very small with a large winter cluster turned into a small cluster and died of starvation 2 inches from honey in a cool snape in February.

Disclaimer: With the above links to products. When used, HarBee Beekeeping is paid a commission if a that product is purchased. This does not effect our judgement as to suggest it or not it is simple a means to be compensated for the referral.

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