The Urban Beekeeping Series is taught by seasoned beekeeping instructors and long-time members of the urban beekeeping group, Toronto Beekeeper’s Cooperative. This year-long 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.
Instructors: Mylee Nordin, Cathy Kozma and Oliver Couto
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Session 1: Intro to Bees & Hive Equipment
Groups A & B: Sunday, March 25, Noon to 4 p.m.
Get the 101 on honeybees (Apis mellifera) and modern beekeeping. Build hive equipment and explore beekeeping suits, smokers and hive check tools as we prepare for the year ahead.
Session 2: Design & Plant a Pollinator Garden
Groups A & B: Sunday, April 29, 1 to 4 p.m. No rain date.
See flowers from a bee’s perspective. Learn which plants provide optimum nutrition to honeybees throughout the growing season, as well as optimum honey for the beekeeper.
Session 3: Plan the Season & Spring Hive Check
Group A: Friday, May 18, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Friday, May 25, 1 to 4 p.m.
Group B: Sunday, May 27, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m.
Experience an exciting time in the beekeeping season as bees wake up from their winter slumber. Don bee-keeping gear, learn about safety in the bee yard and check on the bees. Common challenges and their tried-and-true solutions will be discussed.
Session 4: The Summer Hive Check
Group A: Friday, June 8, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Friday, June 15, 1 to 4 p.m.
Group B: Sunday, June 17, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Sunday, June 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Learn to handle hive equipment and identify the queen, worker and drone bees. Assess honey stores, look for signs of pests and parasites and review organic solutions to this problem.
Session 5: The Honey Harvest
Groups A & B: Sunday, July 22, Noon to 5 p.m.
Rain date: Sunday, July 29, noon to 5 p.m.
This is the most exciting (and sticky!) time of the beekeeping season when bees and beekeepers share the bounty. Learn how to sort and pull honey from frames, remove wax cappings, extract liquid honey from honeycombs, clean frames and return spun frames to the hive.
Session 6: Late Summer Hive Check and review
Group A: Friday, Aug. 17, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Friday, Aug. 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Group B: Sunday, Aug. 26, 1 to 4 p.m.
Rain date: Sunday, Sept. 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
Review what you have learned in the classroom and bee yard to prepare for beekeeping on your own.
Session 7: Honey Jarring & Processing
Group A & B: Sunday, Sept. 30, 1 to 5 p.m.
Learn how to harvest honey, so that it is ready to enjoy and share, and render wax to be used in candles, soap and lip balm, etc.
Session 8: Put the Bees to Bed
Group A & B: Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 to 4 p.m.
Wrap-up the season by conducting a final check for parasites, wrapping the hives and ensuring equipment is ready for winter storage. Students will go home with a small jar of honey.