Welcome to the new home of

  Indiana Beekeeping
Copyright 2001-2017
Indiana Beekeeping School, Inc.
  If your question is not here, ask us via e-mail, and we'll likely add it to this list of FAQs. Send your query to info@indianabeekeeping.com with a subject line of FAQ.


Who is the Indiana Beekeeping School?
We're more than a decade old, and we've made over a thousand beekeepers. Our primary presenter has a masters degree and has taught college. He is in high demand as a speaker for civic and garden groups. The school has been featured in a national magazine and on numerous TV stations. The organization behind the school is not a club and has no membership. We teach and we also financially support research into the honeybee crisis.

What are the prerequisites of the class?
Actually, nothing. In fact, the less you know or have learned off the Internet, the better off you are. The class is comprehensive. If you start researching on the Internet, or borrowing books from the Library, there will be stuff you'll have to unlearn. Better you just wait for the class. If someone wants to give you a gift for Christmas for your upcoming class, we'd recommend they consider a full body beekeeping suit but definitely NOT a beekeeping book.

How much does the class cost, and what's included?
The cost per student is $120. But it includes meals, and textbooks which often run around $60 or more per student. There are additional costs for your beehive kit and for your bees, but these are optional. The beehive kit is just over $325 and purchased direct from a supplier to be delivered to your class. The cost of bees is over $100 and depends on market conditions. Your total cost is between $500 and $600. [There's more information on the beekeeping kit on the Upcoming Classes Page, if you download the brochure with mail-in registration form. You can download this, but still register on line.]

You must register and pay in advance. Check-in, textbook distribution, and a video start at 4pm. The first presentation starts at 5pm Friday.  We wrap up Friday before 9pm. Saturday morning we resume at 7am and the wrapup is before 4pm.

Do we order the hive kit from you? Do we order the bee nucleus from you?
No. As soon as you register with us for the tuition, you'll be in contact with the equipment vendor. You can customize your kit with glove sizes, or even upgrade your beehive with a fancy copper-clad outer cover. You can also consider full-body or jacket beekeeping suits. All of these things increase material prices. If you're a couple and just want extra gloves and an extra veil, you can keep the growing expenses under control.

As far as the bee nucleus goes, we'll provide names of a few certified and inspected providers of Indiana (or Illinois) survivor bees. Very few providers qualify to be on this list because they're unwilling to comply with an inspection. Bees can be brought in from out of state only with an Indiana DNR import certificate and be inspected prior to shipment by a relevant state authority.

Spouses and kids are cheaper. How does that work?
Spouses and kids don't need a duplicate of the same textbook. So we offer a discount. And if you're a 4H leader with several kids who are not your kids, we'll give them the discount rate, so long as you understand they'll all be without a textbook we think is important.

Is it age appropriate for kids?
It depends on the kids. We've had 9 and 10 year olds take the class, and because of good behavior and classroom habits, they've become excellent beekeepers. We've also had adults take the class, sleep through a lot of it, then complain they didn't learn anything. (That's why the coffee pot is always on). We pack a lot of information into the two days, everyone needs to be well rested, We don't supply daycare, so you can bring kids who are registered as students, but leave the others at home.

Will I be able to leave during breaks and recess?
No. We run non-stop and play important videos while you eat. There is no free time. We would really recommend you don't surf the net or post facebook or twitter while at the class. We need your attention! And even if you don't buy the beehive kits, the construction workshops or quite short, and you should be in there anyway. It's important to know this stuff.

I've seen cheaper starter kits in catalogs. Why buy the one the school recommends?
Cheaper kits with plastic frames and fewer boxes, and a non standard bottom board are common. We teach how to work with wood frames and beeswax foundation. These cost more, but trust us, they work better. However, it's a free country. Choose whatever you want. Keep in mind that kits are not equal, neither is the quality of the wood for the boxes and frames. Plus you pay no shipping if our vendor delivers your kit to the class.

Can I use used equipment instead of buying new?
Not advised for your first hive. This is a very bad idea. A great portion of the honeybee crisis is caused by diseases and parasites, and your risks are greatly reduced if you use new equipment.

Can I buy my bees elsewhere, or catch a swarm.
You certainly can. We have our nucleus suppliers certified and inspected. And that doesn't guarantee a totally trouble-free experiences, it does increase your odds of success. So the answer is, we recommend you get your nucleus of bees from one of our providers. But, again, it's a free country. You get to do whatever you want.

I want to be an organic beekeeper. I want to just set up the hives and leave them alone. Is this class for me?
Yes, a fair number of our graduates keep bees without chemical treatments and antibiotics. However thinking that being organic means ignoring and neglecting your colony, you'd better think again. The feral (wild) honeybee colonies died out first during the honeybee crisis. Bees spread the diseases and parasites around at an alarming rate. A good beekeeper still inspects the hives every week during the summer. And the word "organic" is owned by the USDA and can no longer used in a generic sense.

How much time commitment will being a beekeeper take?
Once the hive is built and placed, and the bees installed, about an hour a week, and perhaps 10 minutes each morning to make sure their syrup is always full. The daily visit doesn't require a smoker, but still wear your veil and gloves. The inspection, every week from April through September, requires temps above 65 or 70, bright sun with no clouds or rain, and your smoker smoking.

If you're going on vacation, for up to two weeks, you can do an inspection just before you leave and as soon as you get back, but you'll need to make arrangements for 

I see you teach Langstroth hives. What about Top Bar Hives?
Top Bar Hives have a few advantages, but are not well suited in our climate. In Indiana, the nectar flow is often terminated by a drought by July, making the season short for bees preparing for the next winter. Because of the bees' increased work needed in a top bar hive, such a short season makes success difficult. TBH is a better idea for experienced beekeepers.

You mention a field day in the spring. What is this about?
First, please understand that with January classes, a field day at the bee farm is simply not practical in January. On the other hand, the weather is perfect in May andJune, and if you have purchased the beginners kit or gloves and veils separately, you can come out to the Bluffwood Creek Certified CNG Apiary and get hands-on experience during the field day. In fact, you are welcome back to the bee farm during the rest of the summer season, to learn, to gain experience, and to help with the whole process of beekeeping.

You make reference to a yahoo group, to keep in touch. What is this about?
We continue to teach and mentor for years after you take the class, using the Internet, and a private Yahoo group. It's private because only graduates can participate. Hundreds of past graduates participate in it, and questions you post might be answered by them, by the State Inspector, or by the school. Participation in the Yahoo group depends on your good behavior. It's up to you to join the group when you get an invitation during the class. If you change your email or put spam blockers on your email account, it's up to you to ensure the beekeeping school information still gets through.