Urban Beekeeping

Urban beekeeping continues to gain popularity in cities around the world in response to the troubling news of worldwide drops in honeybee populations and honey yields. Learn how our gardening choices can have a positive impact on the lives of urban honeybees and their wild cousins. The Urban Beekeeping Series is taught by seasoned beekeeping instructors and long-time members of the urban beekeeping group, Toronto Beekeeper’s Cooperative. This series gives you hands-on experience with managing hives, as well as provides you with simple steps to support honeybees and other important pollinators in the city, whether you intend to keep your own bees or just enjoy learning about their care.

Students may also choose to attend a variety of bee-related courses and workshops throughout the year.

These courses vary from term to term and do not apply towards the Urban Beekeeping Certificate.

  • What’s the Buzz in the Hive?
  • Health from the Hive: Introduction to Apitherapy
  • What Do Bees Do in Winter?
  • Pollinators in Peril
  • Lures and Liars
  • Wild Bees and Nest Building
  • Nighttime is the Right Time… For Pollination

Including six in-class and “in-hive” sessions, this series provides grounding in basic beekeeping for two groups of 15 students per year. Please choose Group A (more weekends) or Group B (more weekdays) when registering. Some sessions combine both groups. Instructors: Mylee Nordin, Cathy Kozma, Oliver Couto and Paul Zammit.

Group A: [PG15P08] Public $300; Members $240 – *SOLD OUT*
Group B: [PG15P09] Public $300; Members $240

Session 1: Intro to Bees & Hive Building
Groups A & B: Sunday, March 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Work Bee 2 to 4 p.m.)
Learn the importance of bees to the environment and the history of the modern beehive. Explore hive-building equipment, beekeeping suits, smokers and hive check tools. Join us for an optional equipment-building “work bee” in the afternoon.

Session 2: Designing & Planting a Pollinator Garden
Groups A & B: Saturday, April 25, 1 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Saturday, May 2, 1 to 4 p.m.
How does TBG keep our bees happy? We plant a pollinator garden right on their doorstep! Learn the best plants to provide optimum bee nutrition throughout the growing season. Do some planting in the Pollinator Garden and receive plant lists and planting tips.

Session 3: Plan the Season & Spring Hive Check
Group A: Sunday, May 24, 1 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Sunday, May 31, 1 to 4 p.m.
Group B: Wednesday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Wednesday, June 10, 1 to 4 p.m.
Experience a typical beekeeping season, planning considerations, pitfalls and remedial options. Learn about safety in the bee yard, don your beekeeping gear and take your first look into a hive by participating in a hive check.

Session 4: The Summer Hive Check
Group A: Sunday, June 28, 1 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Sunday, July 5, 1 to 4 p.m.
Group B: Wednesday, July 8, 1 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Wednesday, July 8, 1 to 4 p.m.
Learn to handle hive equipment and identify the queen, worker and drone bees. See how the hives’ honey and wax stores are coming along. Learn how to identify signs of parasites and organic strategies to deal with them.

Session 5: The Honey Harvest
Groups A & B: Sunday, August 16, noon to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Sunday, September 6, noon to 4 p.m.
This is the most exciting time of the beekeeping season when bees and beekeepers share the bounty. Learn to sort and pull capped honey frames, remove wax cappings, extract liquid honey from the honeycomb, clean and return spun frames to the hive.

Session 6: Putting the Bees to Bed
Groups A & B: Sunday, November 22, 1 to 4 p.m.
In this final class in our Beekeeping Series, learn how to do a final check for any parasites that may harm the hive during dormancy, wrap the hives and get the bees ready for winter.

All students of the Urban Beekeeping Series become part of a TBG alumni who are welcome to return to visit the hives during seasonal checks and to support the programs as needed. 

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  1. For anyone interested in learning more about bees. Basic beekeeping – classroom and apiary time. I took all six courses last year. Learning about honeybees was exciting and educational. Wonderful teachers. Loved the hands on approach.

      • kokocat

        Hi! I live in Cabbagetown and creating a short documentary on beekeeping. If you are still there, and still actively beekeeping, and would like to be a subject in my film, please contact me at katmcg@yorku.ca, Thanks!

      • Wes

        Hi, Bee Boy (and others with rooftop hives). I’m confused – I thought the City’s bee hive setbacks required a minimum lot size of approx. one acre (which is not to be had in Cabbagetown), or a skyscraper (to achieve the setback distance, but vertically – like the Royal York hives on the roof). Am I missing something? I’m asking because I’m enrolled in this course for 2015, and am also keenly interested in having my own hive(s)… Thanks!

  2. Adult Education Department

    Hi Madison –

    Thanks for your interest in the program – registration is open until the courses fill or begin, there is currently room in both but we’ve always sold out in the past :)

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