Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published September 19th 2016
Beekeeping Can Be A Relaxing and Rewarding Hobby
Have you ever though you might like to keep bees, to have your own backyard hive. Imagine drizzling your breakfast toast with honey collected in your own garden. It's not just the great taste you'll be enjoying but the health benefits of this nutritional food.
Learning the basics (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
Then there's the increased production of flowers and fruit in your garden and those of your neighbours as a result of having the bees to hand. Don't forget the beeswax, honey isn't all a hive produces. Beeswax can be used to polish wood, to make soap, candles, and lip balm.
Then there is the joy of the bees themselves. Watching them come and go from the hive, their legs clothed in bulging pollen trousers, can be mesmerising.
You're inspired and ready to go but before you rush out and buy a hive there are some basics that you should know. A neglected hive will not produce well and bees may become diseased. There are a number of courses and training packages run around Melbourne where you can learn about beekeeping, get an insight into this rewarding pastime and judge your passion for it.
Honey is just one of the rewards of beekeeping (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
Before we start our list a quick warning about allergies. While many people can tolerate bee stings and even become more tolerant to them over time some are allergic to bee venom with rapid and dire consequences. If this is you, seek a different hobby.
There are also rules and regulations around beekeeping. Your course will likely detail these for you but in the meantime the Victorian Apiarists Association has a wealth of information on their website.
Bee Scientifics (Greater Melbourne)
Bee Scientifics offers courses, training and field days throughout Victoria. In addition to planned course times they are open to organising local classes for groups of ten or more, so find ten like-minded folks in your street or community.
Honey comb from the hive (Photo from Bee Scientifics Facebook Page)
Bee Scientifics are a group dedicated to promoting honey bee health which they achieve through research and education. In addition to training for beginners they provide consultation services to commercial beekeepers with regard to breeding and best practice beekeeping.
Course locations will be advised. Cost and other enquiries can be made via the website.
The Beekeepers Club (Doncaster)
The Beekeepers Club supports beekeepers in The Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Their Beginners Course is carried out over three interactive classroom sessions and a weekend hive opening activity. The course is aimed at newcomers and sets out to teach the background knowledge and practical skills required for successful beekeeping.
A beekeeper holds up a hive frame (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
Membership in the club gives access to regular meetings and includes a Juniors Program. With the assistance of The Beekeepers Club enthusiasts can learn not only hive maintenance but how to construct hives and frames and develop their skills through information sharing and field trips. Family memberships are available.
Bees in the hive (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
The club rooms are at 895-901 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster. Costs (Sept 2016) are Club Members $130.00, Junior Members $95.00, Non-Members $200.00 and Non-Members Family Package $360.00. Fees for non-members include membership. The club can be contacted via their website or by email on email@example.com.
Bob's Beekeeping Courses (Eltham)
Bob's Beekeeping Courses are carried out at Edendale Community Environment Farm. A Taster Course runs for two and a half hours and helps you to decide if beekeeping is truly the hobby for you. The Beginning Beekeeping Course is run regularly on Sundays and aims to acquaint the hobby beekeeper with all the knowledge they need to get started.
The Beginning Beekeeping Course at Edendale Farm (Photo from Bob's Beekeeping Supplies Facebook Page)
Advanced Beekeeping and Queen Rearing Courses are also on offer. Edendale Farm is at 30 Gastons Rd, Eltham. The Taster Course is managed by Edendale Farm. They can be contacted on (03) 9433 3711. Bob's Beginner Beekeeping Course costs (Sept 2016) $220.00. Further details are available on the website, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning (03) 9439 5910.
CERES, the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is a community environment park that has a focus on sustainability education.
If you do not have a hive, the group can assist you to set one up during the swarming season when bees can be provided at no cost. Details of course locations will be advised as courses are organised. The cost (Sept 2016) is $250.00 for non-Permaculture Victoria members and $200.00 for Permaculture Victoria members. The group can be contacted via their website.
Southside Beekeepers Club (Mount Martha)
Southside Beekeepers Club runs a regular two day Introduction to Beekeeping Course aimed at the hobby beekeeper and encompassing both theory and practice.
Opening a hive (Photo from Southside Beekeepers Club Inc. Facebook Page)
The Club's hives (Photo from Southside Beekeepers Club Inc. Facebook Page)
Courses are held in the Visitors Centre at the Briars Homestead, Nepean Highway, Mount Martha. Costs (Sept 2016) for the course are $120.00. For insurance purposes non-members will need to add the cost of membership to the fee. Annual membership is $40.00 for a single or $60.00 for a Double/Family plus a $10.00 joining fee. Course applications can be made via the website. Membership enquiries can also be made via the website.
Upper Beaconsfield Apiaries
Upper Beaconsfield Apiaries offers a one day Beginner Beekeeping Course during the warmer times of the year when the beehives can be opened without disrupting the temperature control of the hive.
The lid is off a busy hive (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
The course will be held at the Upper Beaconsfield Apiaries property. The cost (Sept 2016) are $200.00. Upper Beaconsfield Apiaries can be contacted via their website or by telephoning (03) 5944 4306 or 0448 916 566.
The Bunyip Beekeeper (Greater Melbourne)
The Bunyip Beekeeper gives newcomers a perfect in to beekeeping. The business provides a hive leasing service where they not only supply the hives but manage the colony and extract the honey. They use the calmer more docile variety of bees, the Ligurian Bees. In addition to enjoying all the benefits of having a hive the new beekeeper is welcome to observe and learn as the hives are checked.
Learning how to pick up bees without harming them at the Bunyip Beekeeper (Photo from the Bunyip Beekeeper Facebook Page)
The Bunyip Beekeeper also has tailored hive maintenance packages which include onsite training with your own hives.
The Bunyip Beekeeper comes to you. Fees for the leasing service are discussed on the website Hive Renting page where you will find a detailed enquiry form. Fees for the hive maintenance and training packages are discussed on the website Maintenance page.