natural beekeeping classes, training
"Not just a different beehive, but a whole new way
of looking at beekeeping"
visit the natural beekeeping forum
learn how to start keeping bees
learn how to build a beehive - for free
learn about natural beekeeping
listen to the Barefoot Beekeeper podcast
free articles on natural beekeeping
beekeeping in the news
watch natural beekeeping videos

Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping

for beginners (B)

Tutor - Phil Chandler

Learn about 'balanced beekeeping' in top bar hives: a simple, practical way to have healthy and happy bees in your garden, with the possibility of your own honey harvest, but without the cost and complications associated with conventional beekeeping.

This course is intended for people with no previous knowledge of bees or beekeeping, and will provide you with all the information you need to decide if, when and how you will become a beekeeper.

We will cover:

* Why keep bees? * The nature of honeybees and flowering plants
* The history of our relationship with bees
* Principles of balanced beekeeping
* How to make a good start with bees
* How to build a top bar hive

Starting in Balanced Beekeeping

for beginners/converters (B)

Tutor - Phil Chandler

This is aimed at those who have completed the Introduction weekend, or who have equivalent experience, including those interested in converting from conventional beekeeping methods.

We will cover:

* Introducing bees to a top bar hive
* Baiting and swarm catching
* The lifecycle of a colony
* Optimal hive design and function
* How to keep healthy bees
* Pests and diseases

Balanced Beekeeping:
Managing the Top Bar Hive

for improvers/converters (I)

Tutor - Phil Chandler

This 2-day 'improvers/converters' course is intended for people who have - as a minimum - basic familiarity with bee anatomy and behaviour, plus some experience of practical beekeeping in any type of hive. We will be focusing on the practical and theoretical aspects of working with bees in a more natural and balanced way, ranging across all aspects of beekeeping. You are encouraged to contribute your own experiences to our discussions, which are likely to include:

* The philosophy of 'balanced beekeeping'
* Hive design from the bees' point of view
* Managing top bar hives in practice
* Swarming and swarm management
* Making increase and combining
* Pests and diseases

Swarming, Splits and Queens

for beekeepers with 2+ years experience

Tutor - Phil Chandler

This event will major on the most exciting period of the beekeeping year, when colonies seek to reproduce themselves and there are opportunities for acquiring more colonies. The possibilities for rearing new colonies from 'swarm queens' will be explored, and we will look in detail at other methods of rearing queens suitable for balanced beekeeping.

* Why bees swarm
* Swarming: problem or opportunity?
* Swarm catching techniques
* Artificial swarming
* Making increase and combining
* Queen rearing and mating

Balanced Beekeeping Courses 2014/15

We offer a 'beginners' course, designed for people who have little or no experience or knowledge; an 'improvers' course for people who know one end of a bee from the other, are conversant with beekeeping terminology, and who have some hands-on experience; and 'advanced' courses on specialized areas, such as swarm management and queen rearing.

Beginners' events focus on 'natural' methods and major on the horizontal top bar hive, while including mention of other 'non-conventional' hives, such as skeps, Warré and variants. While I adapt it 'live' to meet the needs of students as much as possible, it does follow a stricter agenda so as to cover the important areas. Beginner-level events are marked (B)

'Improvers/converters' courses are more flexible, and will always be adapted to address the particular needs of students, with coaching in the areas most requiring improvement. These events are particularly suitable for people who have done some practical beekeeping in any type of hive and wish to convert to more natural methods, as well as those who wish to improve their top bar management skills. Intermediate level events are marked (I)

'Advanced' courses tend to be discussion-based, as students are likely to be conversant with management methodologies and can contribute their own experience to the subject. While focus is always on the major theme of the event, students are encouraged to explore connected areas and to share ideas. Advanced level events are marked (A)

Weather permitting, we will spend some time with resident bees, so please bring suitable clothing; at least a hat and veil, or a full suit if you prefer.

Please refer to the host site for further information and booking procedures.

(B)=Beginners (no experience required); (I)=improvers/converters (some experience desirable); (A)=Advanced (minimum 2 seasons with bees; (E)=Event (e.g. meeting or conference (not a training) - see here)
** This event will be aimed at people preparing to start beekeeping in the spring. It will include a session on hive building and the art of attracting bees to your hive, as well as the options for installing bees.


Your chance to be part of a unique natural beekeeping courses held at Close Farm, Highgrove House, the home of HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

I hope to be able to offer this course again in 2015, most likely as four one-day sessions spread over the season. If you think you may be interested, please let me know via the contact page.

Profits from products and events at Highgrove are donated to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, a grant-making charity which supports a wide range of causes and projects.

Natural Beekeeping for Gardeners

Phil Chandler

International Natural Beekeeping online interactive course

A four-week course in Natural Beekeeping from the #1 online gardening school, with audio-visual teaching and marked assignments.

© 2014 P Chandler    Friends of the Bees
natural beekeeping classes, training