Beekeeping for Beginners-now taking names for Spring 2019 Beginner's Course

Scroll down to see videos of what a healthy larvae looks like and observe the passage of air in and out through their spiracles, almost first hand.


*** Application forms for the next available beekeeepers' Preliminary Training Course (2019 or by request) are available by downloading and returning one of the attachments (MS Word or Adobe PDF) at the foot of this page ***


Every Spring, just as the bees become active after a long winter in semi-hibernation, we run a beginner’s course. The venue, the Teagasc building, Bunree, Ballina, is the same venue that the Mayo Beekeepers Association uses for monthly meetings. We spend two full days over a weekend, learning the theory of beekeeping.

This is very practical information and it is vital to know it before you start keeping bees. The course breaks down into the following headings and an optional training manual is available if the beginner has not yet sourced any other books on beginning with bees. This manual mirrors the slideshows that are used during training:


  1. Beginning with bees: equipment and protective clothing
  2. The occupants of the hive
  3. Understanding Forage
  4. The year's work 
  5. Swarm control
  6. Diseases
  7. Harvesting the honey crop.

Once a beginner has become a fully paid up member of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (FIBKA: ideally in the December preceding the year you intend to start keeping bees), they are insured to handle bees and can then be offered practical training at the community garden in Ballina, on a weekend when the weather is suitable and at a date and time that suits everyone in the beginner’s class, usually in late April or early May.  At the end of this course the beginner is well equipped, and indeed strongly encouraged, to take the FIBKA preliminary exam. This exam is very basic and comprises a paper which is 30 minutes long and consists of short questions on the course material already covered as well as a ten-minute practical exam at the community garden in Ballina, scheduled after the written exam. Children over the age of 13 years are welcome to attend the course and take the exam if accompanied by an adult.

The exam can be taken Gormanston at the annual beekeeper’s week-long conference and workshops, or, if there are 15 candidates, Teagasc in Ballina is used as a local centre. 

Each year, the demand for beginner colonies of bees, nucleus, or “nucs” is very high, and it is better to buy locally adapted bees from one of the suppliers within the club, so orders are taken during the beginner’s course and those who have taken the beginner’s exam are given priority and the tutors make themselves available for advice and mentoring throughout the first season of beekeeping.

Anyone interested in taking the 2019 course is encouraged to come to monthly meetings from September 2018, onwards and to join FIBKA if they intend to start with bees the following year. Please register on those evenings with Helen Mooney or make contact through the Ballina Beekeepers facebook page if you are not able to come to any meetings before January. The deadline for getting a place on the beginner’s course is March 2018 and a date for the course will be set once we have 15 names.

You can see photos from last year's course in our Gallery here.

Further enquiries to the club facebook page will be answered by Helen Mooney who is one of the tutors.

*** Application forms for the next available beekeeepers' Preliminary Training Course are available by downloading and returning one of the attachments (MS Word or Adobe PDF) at the foot of this page ***

larve-breathing.mp4

large-larve-breathing.mp4



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Helen Mooney,
Feb 18, 2019, 1:24 PM
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Helen Mooney,
Jan 6, 2019, 6:13 AM