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Mad Dog Farm

Home Courses held on the Farm  Beekeeping for Beginners

The farm and all the products that it produces are certified organic by the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society under the Kootenay Mountain Grown program.

For more details on this please go to:



© 2011 - 2012 Jeremy Lack - Pages 38 - Revision 1 - Revision date 6/2/2012 11:45:23 AM

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Beekeeping for Beginners                Run in conjunction with the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society

This is a seven month long course that starts in the classroom in February and has 6 field days with the Bees at our bee yard on the farm. The aim is to take start up beekeepers all the way through their first year of beekeeping.

The first course day, held in a classroom in Nelson is designed as an total introduction to beekeeping and is for both people who are just interested in bees and for those who intend to keep bees. The class is limited to 40 people.

The field days are designed for those people who actually have bees and are either in their first or second year of beekeeping.

In the past - the course has been charged for as one fee but for 2012 we have decided to change this so that the classroom course in February and the field days are charged separately. The reason for this is that many established beekeepers have asked to attend the field days to polish their skills and we have has no way of including them.

So the classroom course is charged for at $40 and each field day is charged for at $10 - if the whole course is booked then a small discount is given so that the whole course (classroom and all field days) is charged at $90.

The table below shows the brief Outline of the Course




18th February

Classroom in Nelson

General introduction to Beekeeping including details of equipment and an overview of the Beekeeping year.


Field day on the farm

Introducing Nucs and Packages, bee handling and initial hive assessments.


Field day on the farm

Feeding, bee handling, hive assessment, building the population of bees, initial swarm control and prevention.


Field day on the farm

Assessing the hive and the queen, swarm and population control, building the population, honey collection.


Field day on the farm

Advanced bee handing, disaster prevention and recovery, honey supering, assessing the queen and bee populations.


Field day on the farm

Honey crop harvest and extraction, bee population building for the fall, disease control, preparation of the hive for the fall.


Field day on the farm

Fall feeding, consolidation of hives, preparation for winter and over wintering bees, disease and pest management.

Some Comments on the 2011 Course

I really enjoyed the beekeeping class and would not have had the confidence to get my own hives this year without it. I learned so much 'regional information' that I couldn't learn from the books I had been reading. I really liked the format of the first class 'in classroom' and the rest in the field. A great balance, I think. My suggestion would be more information on organic beekeeping. I came away from the class and I think many others as well, thinking it is impossible to keep bees organically here. However I have since learned there are people doing it and would like to hear more about this option. Thanks so much for the course, it was really great!


I think you guys did a fantastic job and I know I am now ready to jump in and get some bees.  I really, really enjoyed the introductory day, in particular the survey of global beekeeping was fascinating and very well presented.  I've recommended this day to everyone I know who has any kind of interest in bees - including experienced keepers. Thanks very much for your extraordinary effort and skill!


I really enjoyed the Beekeeping course Mad Dog farms put on this year. The knowledge that was shared was worth way more than the money spent, and was though their own personal experiences of trial and error - stuff you can't find in books! I would definately recommend this course for anyone who is a first time beekeeper.


What I loved about the course was how open both Jeremy and Nette were. Their knowledge and suggestions were offered freely and I felt I could ask any question, which is great for beginning bee keepers.  I also really appreciate the natural focus given to caring for bees which is important to me. Thanks for the great course.


The April field day of the 2011 course field at Mad Dog Farm.

The January Classroom day of the 2011 course field at Nelson Chamber of Commerce Building.

The 2011 Beekeeping for Beginners course was done on behalf of the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society.It is the same course, amended for new information and tweaked of course for any weaknesses that where discovered during the year.

All course material are made available to participants online during the year so that a review can be carried out as and if necessary.

Beginner Course Registration Form 2013.pdf

Click on the image to the right to download a copy of the course application form for 2013