2024 Beginner Bee School Enrollment

Before signing up for Bee School, read this…

Is Beekeeping Right for you?

Congratulations on your interest in beekeeping.  Most new beekeepers begin their journey with the honey bee as a hobby.  Overtime, with experience and increased knowledge, some take their interest to a new level as a side business or to a full-time commercial venture.  Your decision to enroll and participate in the Henderson County Beekeepers Association’s Bee School will provide you with a sound foundation of knowledge and practical experience which will greatly improve your chances of success at this endeavor.

We wish you to understand that this is a hobby that is very rewarding, yet requires a substantial commitment and investment of your time and financial resources.  Therefore, the following is provided to help you decide if beekeeping is right for you before you invest your time and money.

Time commitment:

  1. Preparation of and assembly of your equipment, construction of your bee yard.  Depending on your skills this can take more than a weekend.
  2. Annually between April and September you will need to inspect your hives every 10-14 days to ensure they have what they need to survive and prevent swarming which can be a loss of your investment. Inspections can take 15-45 minutes per hive.
  3. Because of number 2 above, taking an extended vacation longer than 10 days during the summer is not in your hives’ best interests unless you have a bee buddy you can trust to monitor and care for your hives in your absence.
  4. When your bees provide you with honey to harvest, that process can take hours or days depending on the quantity you harvest.

Startup cost can be spread out over the first year and depends on what source you use for your equipment.

  1. Protective gear $50 – $200
  2. Tools $75 – $100
  3. Nuc box with bees. $175 – $200

A Nuc is a small hive with a laying queen + 10,000 – 20,000 bees

(HCBA only recommends a nuc as a way to start).  HCBA strongly recommends that you start with 2 hives for reasons you will learn in Bee School.

  1. Hive $250 – $350

(complete kit assembled) with 2 deep and 2 medium boxes

  1. Hive from individually purchased components. $300 – $400

You will need 2 deep boxes and 2 medium boxes per hive.  Cost listed is per hive. Includes other necessary components to set up a hive.

  1. Feeders (you will need to feed your bees).  $5 – $50
  2. Mite treatments: $15 – $75
  3. Bear Fence: materials w/o charger $200 – $250

AC charger or solar $125 – $350

HCBA strongly recommends you protect your apiary with a bear fence.  If you live in WNC it will only be a matter of time until bears find your bees.  They will destroy your hives and bees.

  1. Total initial investment range: $1195 – $1975

All this can be daunting; however, you should know ahead of time what beekeeping requires of the keeper.  If this all looks good – go for it.  If you’re okay with the time commitment, but still feel overwhelmed, before abandoning the idea of beekeeping, consider preparing over time.  Take the course this year, begin buying supplies as you can, attend school apiary sessions for skill building, network with a mentor and other beekeepers, then take bee school again next year and then start keeping bees.

HCBA Bee School starts January 8, 2024 on Zoom and/or in person at the county Extension office 100 Jackson Park Rd Hendersonville NC and runs for 7 consecutive Mondays.  Additionally there will be several sessions (up to 6 depending on weather) in the Apiary/outdoor area at Historic Johnson Farm on Haywood Rd./Hwy 191 in Hendersonville, NC.   Cost for Bee School is $75 – $15 to join the Association and $60 per family for class (including textbook). Henderson County Beginner Bee School enrollment requires a current HCBA membership. Please join HCBA by following this link.       Please note – emails to complete registration will be sent to the email address you use for PayPal. 

Once you have joined HCBA, you will receive an email from membership@hcbeekeepers.org.  You must complete the profile and set up your user name and password.  Now that you have a valid  membership, log in to the HCBA website (click here to log in).

If you still have questions you may call 828-233-5623, leave a message and someone will get back to you.

At this point, you are finally ready to enroll in the 2023 Beginner Bee School by paying below. But, before enrolling, if you haven’t done so yet, please read the document – Is beekeeping right for you? (If you do not see the  button below, you are not logged into this site so you must go to “click here to log in” above).

Apologies for the multi-step process on joining HCBA and then paying for class… its the best I can do on the cheap.

Click on the Buy Now button below to purchase a seat in the 2024 Beginner Bee School. Payment processing is via PayPal.

Now, I am going to ask for one more thing… I know, I know… send an email to info@hcbeekeepers.org and let me know if you want to attend in person or by Zoom and if a spouse or family member will be joining you (free with the family membership).

If you have successfully completed all these steps, you are more than qualified to become a successful Beekeeper!  You might even want to consider running for President (of HCBA, of course).