Starting Out

Learn how to become a beekeeper


The best way to learn the craft of beekeeping is to take an introductory course. Each WBKA branch runs these for their members, and the courses take place at different times (usually in winter and spring) and in slightly different styles. The courses include theory and practical sessions; by the end, you will be equipped with the knowledge and basic skills to keep bees.

The courses cover the following:

  • Lifecycle of the honey bee
  • What bees forage on and how they make honey
  • The equipment you need to get started 
  • An overview of the beekeeper’s year
  • Factors to consider when siting an apiary
  • Swarms: how to prevent them and how to collect one
  • How to harvest and bottle your honey
  • An overview of honey bee health
  • How to deal with stings
  • Practical sessions allow for hands-on experience and cover how to inspect a hive and what to look for during the season. 


Kennet’s Winter course is 14 hours long and is usually run between February and May on alternate weeks, giving time for follow-up work. This comprises 2-hour evening theory sessions at Bishops Canning Village Hall, SN10 2LA, near Devizes, and 2x practical sessions on a Saturday at club’s the nearby apiary.

Kennet’s Summer Course is 12 hours long and run on its behalf by the Wiltshire Bee Centre, Calne, over one weekend in June.


Melksham’s Spring course comprises 4 x 2-hour theory session at Broughton Gifford Village Hall, usually run in March or April. This is followed by flexible, practical sessions on Saturdays at the club apiary in Rowde. 

Melksham also runs one-day introductory courses throughout the summer.


Swindon runs courses every spring:

  • Starting Beekeeping is run over three consecutive Saturday mornings;
  • Taster Days: there are 2 or 3 of these a year, depending on levels of interest.

West Wilts

West Wilts beginners’ courses usually commence in February and comprise 6x 2-hour evening sessions followed by practical sessions in the apiary from April. 

Find out more:

Useful information about beekeeping

You can also find useful how-to guides on the National Bee Unit’s BeeBase page.

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