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Indiana Beekeeping School, Inc.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is the Indiana Beekeeping School?
We're more than a decade old, and we've made over a thousand beekeepers. Our
primary presenter has a masters degree and has taught college. He is in high
demand as a speaker for civic and garden groups. The school has been
featured in a national magazine and on numerous TV stations. The
organization behind the school is not a club and has no membership. We teach
and we also financially support research into the honeybee crisis.
What are the prerequisites of the class?
Actually, nothing. In fact, the less you know or have learned off the
Internet, the better off you are. The class is comprehensive. If you start
researching on the Internet, or borrowing books from the Library, there will
be stuff you'll have to unlearn. Better you just wait for the class. If
someone wants to give you a gift for Christmas for your upcoming class, we'd
recommend they consider a full body beekeeping suit but definitely NOT a
How much does the class cost, and what's
The cost per student is $120. But it includes meals, and textbooks which
often run around $60 or more per student. There are additional costs for
your beehive kit and for your bees, but these are optional. The beehive kit
is just over $325 and purchased direct from a supplier to be delivered to
your class. The cost of bees is over $100 and depends on market conditions.
Your total cost is between $500 and $600. [There's more information on the
beekeeping kit on the Upcoming Classes Page, if you download the brochure
with mail-in registration form. You can download this, but still register on
You must register and pay in advance.
Check-in, textbook distribution,
and a video start at 4pm. The first presentation starts at 5pm Friday.
We wrap up Friday before 9pm. Saturday morning we resume at 7am and the wrapup is before 4pm.
Do we order the hive kit from you? Do we
order the bee nucleus from you?
No. As soon as you register with us for the tuition, you'll be in contact
with the equipment vendor. You can customize your kit with glove sizes, or
even upgrade your beehive with a fancy copper-clad outer cover. You can also
consider full-body or jacket beekeeping suits. All of these things increase
material prices. If you're a couple and just want extra gloves and an extra
veil, you can keep the growing expenses under control.
As far as the bee nucleus goes, we'll provide names of a few certified and
inspected providers of Indiana (or Illinois) survivor bees. Very few
providers qualify to be on this list because they're unwilling to comply
with an inspection. Bees can be brought in from out of state only with an
Indiana DNR import certificate and be inspected prior to shipment by a
relevant state authority.
Spouses and kids are cheaper. How does
Spouses and kids don't need a duplicate of the same textbook. So we offer a
discount. And if you're a 4H leader with several kids who are not your kids,
we'll give them the discount rate, so long as you understand they'll all be
without a textbook we think is important.
Is it age appropriate for kids?
It depends on the kids. We've had 9 and 10 year olds take the class,
and because of good behavior and classroom habits, they've become excellent
beekeepers. We've also had adults take the class, sleep through a lot of it,
then complain they didn't learn anything. (That's why the coffee pot is
always on). We pack a lot of information into the two days, everyone needs
to be well rested, We don't supply daycare, so you can bring kids who are
registered as students, but leave the others at home.
Will I be able to leave during breaks and
No. We run non-stop and play important videos while you eat. There is no
free time. We would really recommend you don't surf the net or post facebook
or twitter while at the class. We need your attention! And even if you don't
buy the beehive kits, the construction workshops or quite short, and you
should be in there anyway. It's important to know this stuff.
I've seen cheaper starter kits in
catalogs. Why buy the one the school recommends?
Cheaper kits with plastic frames and fewer boxes, and a non standard
bottom board are common. We teach how to work with wood frames and beeswax
foundation. These cost more, but trust us, they work better. However, it's a
free country. Choose whatever you want. Keep in mind that kits are not
equal, neither is the quality of the wood for the boxes and frames. Plus you
pay no shipping if our vendor delivers your kit to the class.
Can I use used equipment instead of buying
Not advised for your first hive. This is a very bad idea. A great
portion of the honeybee crisis is caused by diseases and parasites, and your
risks are greatly reduced if you use new equipment.
Can I buy my bees elsewhere, or catch a
You certainly can. We have our nucleus suppliers certified and
inspected. And that doesn't guarantee a totally trouble-free experiences, it
does increase your odds of success. So the answer is, we recommend you get
your nucleus of bees from one of our providers. But, again, it's a free
country. You get to do whatever you want.
I want to be an organic beekeeper. I want
to just set up the hives and leave them alone. Is this class for me?
Yes, a fair number of our graduates keep bees without chemical
treatments and antibiotics. However thinking that being organic means
ignoring and neglecting your colony, you'd better think again. The feral
(wild) honeybee colonies died out first during the honeybee crisis. Bees
spread the diseases and parasites around at an alarming rate. A good beekeeper still inspects the hives every week during the summer.
And the word "organic" is owned by the USDA and can no longer used in a
How much time commitment will being a
Once the hive is built and placed, and the bees installed, about an
hour a week, and perhaps 10 minutes each morning to make sure their syrup is
always full. The daily visit doesn't require a smoker, but still wear your
veil and gloves. The inspection, every week from April through September, requires temps above 65° or
70°, bright sun with no clouds or rain, and your smoker smoking.
If you're going on vacation, for up to two
weeks, you can do an inspection just before you leave and as soon as you get
back, but you'll need to make arrangements for
I see you teach Langstroth hives. What
about Top Bar Hives?
Top Bar Hives have a few advantages, but are not well suited in our
climate. In Indiana, the nectar flow is often terminated by a drought by
July, making the season short for bees preparing for the next winter.
Because of the bees' increased work needed in a top bar hive, such a short
season makes success difficult. TBH is a better idea for experienced
You mention a field
day in the spring. What is this
First, please understand that with January classes, a field day at the bee
farm is simply not practical in January. On the
other hand, the weather is perfect in May andJune, and if you have purchased the
beginners kit or gloves and veils separately, you can come out to the Bluffwood
Creek Certified CNG Apiary and get hands-on experience during the field day.
In fact, you are welcome back to the bee farm during the rest of the summer
season, to learn, to gain experience, and to help with the whole process of
You make reference
to a yahoo group, to keep in touch. What is this about?
We continue to teach and mentor
for years after you take the class, using the Internet, and a private Yahoo
group. It's private because only graduates can participate. Hundreds of past
graduates participate in it, and questions you post might be answered by
them, by the State Inspector, or by the school. Participation in the Yahoo
group depends on your good behavior. It's up to you to join the group when
you get an invitation during the class. If you change your email or put spam
blockers on your email account, it's up to you to ensure the beekeeping
school information still gets through.