OBKA Beginners Course

Beginners Beekeeping Course

Our annual beginners course starts in late February/early March with an introductory “What is Beekeeping” meeting at Marlborough school in Woodstock. The aim of this session is to give you an overview of beekeeping  and the Beginners course; you do not have to have signed up for the beginners course to attend this session (but see Please Note, below).


The Beginners Course ‘proper’ starts with a theory session and is then followed by a series of largely practical sessions where you are split into small groups and are shown bees in operation within a hive. Over the period of April/May to August/September, at monthly intervals, on either Wednesday or Thursday evenings, you will be taken through the full cycle of bee behaviour, seeing the Queen developing her colony, watching bees foraging for nectar and pollen, looking for any signs of disease or other problems and (hopefully) extracting and bottling honey in late summer. With the assistance of our team of experienced tutors, by the end of your course you will be fully equipped to order your first nucleus of bees the following Spring and your beekeeping will take off !


The cost of the course (2018) is £55. You can apply to join the course using the form below. 



If you want to know a bit more about becoming a beekeeper and what it entails then we recommend reading this article from a well known blogger on beekeeping (and bee researcher) The Apirist; his recent article about becoming a beekeeper is here.



Please Note: Attendance at the  ‘What is Beekeeping’ meeting is encouraged but not compulsory for those wanting to sign up for the Beginners Beekeeping course. People find that attending the ‘What is Beekeeping’ course is a useful way to decide if they want to commit to the full course and hence whether or not to sign up for the Beginners course and also join OBKA;  you cannot do the Beginners Course unless you are also a member of the Association.


To join the Oxfordshire Beekeeping Association (OBKA) click on this link to go to the application form.


Introduction to Beekeeping Course 2019


PLEASE NOTE that the Beginners course is currently fully subscribed and there is now a waiting list. Any further requests to attend the course will be added to the waiting list but are unlikely to get a place. If you don’t get a place on the 2019 Beginners Course you are still welcome to attend the ‘What is Beekeeping’ session (see below) and there will be a Taster Day later in the year (see here for information about the 2018 Taster Day).


We are now taking applications for the 2019 course. The dates of the first 2 sessions are:


  • What Is Beekeeping: Friday 01 March 2019 1830hrs- 2030hrs
  • Beginners Course Theory Session: Friday 05 April 2019 1830hrs – 2030hrs


Both events take place in the MEC Hall at Marlborough School, Woodstock (see the Events Calendar for location details). The practical sessions will take place as per the table below; all practical sessions are 1830 – 2030hrs:


 Session 1
Identifying Bees and Brood
Session 2
Swarm Control
Session 3
Session 4
Honey Harvest
Session 5
Winter Preparations
Group A17 April15 May12 June10 July24 July
Group B25 April23 May20 June18 July01 August
Group C01 May29 May26 June10 July07 August
Group D09 May6 June4 July18 July15 August


For further details, or indeed if you would like to apply to attend the next Beginners Course, please contact Peter Chaunt, Beginners Course Co-ordinator, using the form below. Please note that we limit the course to about 55 students and the course has been oversubscribed for the last couple of years. The closing date for applications and payment is Friday 15th March 2019.



Introduction to Beekeeping Course Enquiry Form