Sign up for the best bee training in SF! 

Register now for this year's classes on Saturdays February 25 and March 25
Each spring the San Francisco Beekeepers Association holds two classes for new and intermediate beekeepers filled with the practical knowledge you need to keep bees successfully throughout the year. This is information you can't get just by reading books or watching videos. It's real world, Northern California beekeeping taught by local experts. Plus, at just $25 per session for members (join now), vs $50 for non-member, they're a great bargain!

We recommend new beekeepers take both classes, though intermediate beekeepers may pick & choose to refresh their skills. But note: you must register individually for each session. See details below ...

Beekeeping 101: Essential Equipment


Here are some of the things about gear we will cover:

  • Hardware and Protective Gear: Smokers, hive tools, bee suits, gloves and other gear
  • Hive Boxes: Eight or ten frames, deeps vs mediums, prepping, painting, what you need now and later
  • Queen excluders: Use one or not?
  • Frames: What's the right frame for you? Wood vs plastic, wax vs plasticell foundation, willing to wire?
  • Tops, Bottoms, Feeders: What's best for your set up?
  • Where to place your hive: The good, the bad and the "don't do that."
  • Where to buy stuff: Major online retailers, the choices out there, should you buy used?
  • Where to learn more: Online forums and more

Beekeeping 102: Basic Beekeeping

Here are some of the things we will cover so your bees stay healthy:

  • Locating your hive in an urban setting:  The good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Hive components: A review so you have what you need when the bees arrive.
  • Installing your bees: The moment of truth when you get your first bees
  • When to release the queen: Timing is everything with packages.
  • Feeding your bees: What to feed, what not to feed, when to stop feeding, all important.
  • When to check, when to leave alone: Your first hive inspection. And second, and...
  • Follow up inspections: Colony growth, maturation, adding boxes
  • Where to buy stuff and when: A review, with information that will make more sense now
  • A live hive inspection: Hopefully, in person. We'll suit you up and let you hold bees. Exciting!

As an added incentive, if you're among the first 25 people to register for both classes at the discounted member rate, you'll receive a San Francisco Beekeepers Association heavy duty canvas tote bag free. It's a $25 value.

Beekeeper training FAQs

Why choose the SFBA classes?
There are other intro classes out there, but most are just overviews. None that we know of go as far in-depth as these and give you the best chance to successfully keep bees right from the beginning. Plus, at just $25 per session for SFBA members, they are the best bargain around!

How can a class that costs just $25 for members can be such high quality?
Easy: We're a 501c3 not-for-profit that truly cares for bees. Up front in our mission statement is the pledge to educate and support urban beekeeping, so we're not in this to make money. SFBA classes are given by longtime, volunteer beekeeping teachers with a curriculum honed over years of experience training and mentoring new and intermediate beekeepers.

Can't I get the same information online?
We see people who read a couple books and watch YouTube videos and think it's enough. Then when their first set of bees die, they give up. Learning with guidance and having a club to support you during your first year or more makes for healthier bees and happier beekeepers.

But why take classes as a member?
Joining the club costs just $30 for an individual. With both classes at the discounted member rate, your cost to learn beekeeping is just $80 -- or $20 less than if you took the classes as a non-member. Plus, as the commercial says "Membership has its privileges" - peer support, discounts, events, access to senior beekeepers, cheap extractor rentals and much more. So we recommend taking both classes. You won't be disappointed. 

Finally, how do I get my bees?
We have a long-standing relationship with a highly regarded breeder and offer great bees at a special low cost each April or May. More details in class. And please note, we require new beekeepers to at least take the Basic Beekeeping 101 class to purchase bees through the club.

If you have any questions about the classes, please email

Note: if you sign up for both classes at the discounted member rate, you'll get a free canvass tote bag, a $25 value (see above)