Beekeeping Courses

The introductory courses for 2019 have finished. We will be preparing information for the 2020 courses shortly. These will probably start the 3rd week in February and have a similar format to the 2019 courses. Enrolment will most likely open sometime in October/Novemebr via the CAFRE website. You may like to read the notes below about the 2019 courses as the information will probably not change a great deal.

2019 Information

Please read the notes below for more information but if you are ready to enrol for our 2019 Preliminary Beekeeping course please click here. There will two courses again this year, both will follow the same syllabus and will both be synchronised where possible to enable anyone who can’t make their scheduled night can attend the alternative course for that night:

The Belfast and District run an annual course entitled “Preliminary Beekeeping”. This is nominally a 10 week course covering the basics skills needed to start keeping bees. We would also recommend that people come along to the association meetings where the talks throughout the year will provide much additional information. Plus its a great place to discuss beekeeping problems and get advice. The Preliminary Course generally starts in mid to late February and consists of 8 classroom sessions covering a range of topics. This is followed by up to 4 but a minimum of 2 practical sessions at an apiary where we will open hives and demonstrate basic bee handling. Please contact the secretary for more details. A suggested reading list is given below.

Registration for the courses opens in October.  Contact the association secretary at the address below to register an interest in the course.

Please let us know in advance of any access difficulties you may have.

Secretary email address: belfastbee.secretary at

Course Reading

There is a wide variety of books available on the subject of beekeeping. These can make excellent Christmas presents if you need to drop some hints the following are possibilities:

  1. “Bees at the Bottom of the Garden” by Alan Campion. This is a good entertaining read, not too technical and will give an overview of the subject. It was included in the hive beginner kit from a major supplier so there probably are quite a few second hand copies as well as new.
  2. “The Bee manual” from Haynes by Claire Waring. Yes this is from the car manual people. It is a good compliment to the course material. It has lots of relevant pictures and describes the basics of beekeeping very well.
  3. “Guide to Bees & Honey” by Ted Hooper. A classic reference book which has been dubbed the world’s best selling bee book. This has been in print for many years and has had a number of updates so beware of old second hand copies. This is heavy going in places so is more for the enthusiast.

We suggest you buy one of these in advance of the course but it is not essential as the course notes will cover the basic material. You may wish to wait until the course starts as we will bring copies along and you could choose the most suitable. There are many more books available, these are some of the books the course tutors have read and feel are appropriate. They are partly ordered in increasing complexity of reading.

10 Responses to Beekeeping Courses

  1. Mary says:

    Hi I would like to join a bee keeping preliminary course. When does the next course start? Is it possible to go to meetings without having attended the classes?

    • We run courses every year starting in mid-February. Registration for the courses usually opens around October, places can fill quickly so we recommend early registration. Anyone interested in attending the course is welcome to come to our monthly meetings but we would ask you to make yourself known to one of the members at the door There is usually some of the association officers or committee members there to meet members.

    • Mary, The courses are open for enrollment now, make sure to go to the second page of the list of course. You are welcome to come to our meetings before the course starts. Please make yourself known to one of the members who can point yoy to one of the course tutors.

  2. Jane Bradley says:

    Hello. Would love to join for the course. Dates for 2020 release yet. Let me know. Thanks.

    • The courses usually start around the 3rd week in February, I make that the 18th and 19th but this is still to be confirmed. These details are normally finalised late September/early October and will be published on our website and the Cafre site.

    • Hi, The courses are open for enrolment please follow the links on our website, and also make sure you go to the second page of the list of courses, that’s where our two courses are listed.

  3. Brian Mathews says:

    Hello. I would like to notify my interest to register for the 2020 Preliminary bee keeping course as soon as registration opens this year.
    Many thanks.

    • Brian, If you haven’t spotted it already the Preliminary Beekeeping ocurse are open for enrollment. Note that there are 2 pages of course and we are on the second page. Click on the small next page button near the top of the page.

  4. Richard G says:

    Hello, I was just on the CAFRE website looking to enroll on the preliminary beekeeping course for 2020 but couldn’t find any Belfast courses apart from from an intermediate course in Dundonald. Am I correct in assuming that all spaces for the preliminary course in Belfast have gone already?

    • HI, There should be spaces on both courses but CAFRE have put our courses on a second page and its not obvious that there are 2 pages. Look at the top of the page and you will see a small next page button. Click it and you should see the 2 courses.

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