Course will be taught by Dr. Jason Graham, Entomologist and Educator

Classes are limited to 25 participants. First come, first serve. All others will be placed on a waiting list.

Question about course content? Email jason@planetbee.org or call (352) 519-9592


No experience necessary, just an interest in learning about bees and beekeeping!

Dr. Jason Graham’s Bio

Jason is a bee researcher who has worked with honey bees and beekeepers for 12+ years. He earned his PhD in the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory at University of Florida. For his post-doctoral work, Dr. Graham studied the known populations of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees and contributed data that helped to list these pollinators as endangered species. He has presented his bee research at the Smithsonian Museum, led field trips for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and his research has been featured by National Geographic. He has taught and assisted classes at University of Delaware, University of Florida, University of Hawaii, and Hawaii Pacific University.  

Apiculture 101: Art and Science of Beekeeping Series

This series examines the practice of apiculture through lectures, readings, individual projects and hands-on experiential lessons. The course includes a survey of apiculture, from planning the apiary to queen rearing, an exploration of products of the hive, equipment and hive-building, developmental biology and pollination ecology. Emphasis will be placed on the development of students’ ability to practically use these experiences to meet their own personal goals with beekeeping, design personal beekeeping protocols, and gain a foundational knowledge of Apiculture practices.   

You’ll Learn Everything Needed to Become a Backyard Beekeeper!

After successfully completing this course, you will have the knowledge to establish an efficient and safe apiary; understand regulations regarding beekeeping; create a personal beekeeping goal; understand the tools and equipment available to beekeepers; find and interpret scientific literature relating to your beekeeping questions; connect with other beekeeping resources, associations, and network with other bee enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds; understand pest management options and use integrated pest management practices to inform your decisions, manage your bees following your personal philosophy; compare and contrast the major divisions of bees; diagram anatomy of bees and plants and describe the process and importance of pollination; build your choice of hive designs; build nest sites for and monitor for native pollinators; extract honey, wax, pollen and propolis, from your hive for personal use or to market; and more.

Text: First Lessons in Beekeeping

We will refer to this book for many of the topics covered and the book will be a valuable resource as you expand your personal understanding of beekeeping. The book is available through many local public library systems, can be purchased on Amazon for less than $10, or can be purchased through this course. First Lessons in Beekeeping introduces the prospective beekeeper to the basics of beekeeping through easy-to-understand text and numerous color photos on honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, management, honey production and processing, as well as disease diagnosis and treatment. ISBN-10: 0915698129 ISBN-13: 978-0915698127


Our goal is to make this class as helpful for you as we can. We respect that everyone has different personal goals, backgrounds, perspectives, experiences and beliefs. Taking this into consideration, this course will be delivered in both a general and a tailored way to insure everyone gets access to the foundational knowledge and an actionable pathway to beekeeping. Some prefer a rigorous course that tests their knowledge, while others prefer to just show up and enjoy each class without having to worry about ever being tested. Take this class ‘just for fun’ or for credit. It is up to you! You can always choose to take this course just for fun- no assignments, no grades, just all the resources and materials. If you decide you want to do a project or take a test, we will be happy to accept it and give you feedback. Either way, you will still earn a certificate upon completion of the course. If you choose to complete the assessments, we will provide these grades and feedback along with your certificate. It’ll be fun to use these as added course experiences and to help demonstrate your own learning. Upon your request, we can provide our assessments along with your scores as transcripts to submit to master beekeeper or master gardener programs, high school or higher education independent-study programs if they can be used as transferable credits.

The voluntary assessments are as follows:

Group Project:

Get together as a group to accomplish a bee-themed task. This could be a honey extraction, hive build, hive inspection, prepping bees to move, attend a local beekeeper meeting, any task that you choose but do it as a team inviting as many classmates as you can. Then report on the outcome via posts to share your experience, highlighting strengths you saw in each other and things you learned as a group that you may have missed individually.

Community Service:

Beekeepers are often called upon to help in the community. Schools invite beekeepers to share the importance of bees and pollinators; swarm collecting helps by safely removing bees where unwelcome; beekeepers may donate honey to a foodbank; help an elderly or disabled beekeeper with a task; write a blog post; volunteer for Planet Bee Foundation- the options are limitless. We will provide a volunteer form that can be signed by your point of contact with the community service. Write a 1-2 page summary sharing your experience. Please include a paragraph written before the experience sharing your intentions. Also include any photos or video taken during the experience, how you think it went, any impact that you felt was made for others or yourself, anything you might do differently next time.

Research Project:

Pick a beekeeping topic to research. Research tools might include interviewing an expert, watching videos online, reading beekeeper magazines, conducting a poll, a scientific literature review, or something else.  Possible topics include: Wax Moths, Queen Rearing, Marketing Propolis, Endangered Bees, Pollination for Blueberries, or any topic that you can think of that somehow relates to bees- all the better if it is a topic which fascinates you. Report your findings however you are most comfortable sharing: as a blog post, essay, video tutorial, a booklet, a poster, a PowerPoint presentation, whatever product you feel best represents your report. 

Classroom Exam:

The classroom exam is designed to assess your gathering of beekeeping ‘book’ knowledge during this course. The question formats will be True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching, Labeling Diagrams and short answer. During the course we will help to prepare you for the exam by sharing key concepts and areas to study. The exam is based on similar written exams given during Master Beekeeper Programs.

Aield Exam:

The apiary exam is designed to assess your gathering of beekeeping ‘hands-on’ knowledge during this course. This will be held in an apiary and each participant will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to light a smoker, identify life stages of bees, identify equipment and tools and their purposes, discuss the parts of the hive and the inspection process, identify pests and disease symptoms, discuss management options, and more. During the course we will help to prepare you for the practical exam, by sharing key concepts and areas to study. The exam is based on similar practical exams given during Master Beekeeper Programs.

Quizzes and Assignments

These will be additional opportunities to test your knowledge throughout the course. The assignments and quizzes each should take no more than 15-30 minutes to complete. There will be two quizzes and two assignments each worth 5 points.

Assessment/Points Available:

  • Group Project/10pts

  • Community Project/10pts

  • Research Project/20pts

  • Classroom Exam/20pts

  • Apiary Exam/20pts

  • Quizzes & Assignments/20pts

    Grading scale: A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, 0-59=just for fun