Beekeeping 101 & 102: Two classes to help you keep your bees alive and healthy!

How would you like to keep bees and, more importantly, keep them alive and healthy all year round?

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.

We used to offer these as a single class, but found there was just too much to learn (information overload!). So we divided it into two sessions:

Beekeeping 101: Essential Equipment

Here are 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 the things we will cover so your bees stay alive:

  • 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!

We do recommend both classes for new beekeepers. There's a lot to learn. But at just $25 per session for members ($50 for non-members), these are the best and the most affordable classes around. Period.

As an added incentive, if you are one of the first 25 people to become a member or renew your existing membership and also sign up for both classes at the discounted member rate, you will receive a San Francisco Beekeepers Association heavy duty canvas tote bag free. It's a $25 value.

Why Take The SFBA Classes?
There are other intro classes out there, but most are just overviews. None (that we know of) go as in depth as these and give you the best chance to successfully keep bees right from the beginning. 

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. SFBA classes are given by longtime, volunteer beekeeping teachers with a curriculum honed over years of classes.

We see people who read a couple books and watch YouTube videos and think it's enough. When their bees die, they give up. Learning with guidance and having a club to support you on your first year (or more) makes for healthier bees and better beekeepers. Successful beekeepers are happier beekeepers (and so are their bees).

Here's a little bee club math
Joining the club is $30 for an individual. If you take both classes, they're $50. That's a total of $80, which is $20 less than if you take the classes as a non-member. We want you to belong. As the commercial says "Membership has its privileges" - discounts, classes, events, access to senior beekeepers, cheap extractor rentals and much more. We recommend both classes. You won't be disappointed. 

Finally, what about getting my bees?
We have a long-standing relationship with a highly regarded breeder and offer great bees at a special low cost. More details in class. As we noted above, we require new beekeepers to at least take the Basic Beekeeping class to buy bees through the club.

If you have any questions about the classes, please email

Remember, if you sign up for both classes and membership, you get the tote bag, a $25 value (see above)