Nashville Area Beekeepers Association

Virtual Bee School

This is an on-line school intended as an introduction for new beekeepers and for people who think that they may want to keep honey bees.  It consists of 10 lessons by some of the best (and most experienced) instructors available.  The course should be used by taking the lessons in order from Lesson 1 to Lesson 10.  Intermediate beekeepers may find individual lessons useful as a review of specific topics.

The textbook for the course is written by one of our instructors, Dr. John Skinner, and is titled “Beekeeping in Tennessee”.   It may be obtained through the Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Click here to download it as a PDF.

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Beekeeping
Length: 34:40
Gene Armstrong – NABA
Mike Studer – Tennessee State Apiarist

  • Objectives, goals and programs of the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.
  • Why people keep bees.
  • Legal responsibilities and protection for beekeepers.
  • Current beekeeping issues in Tennessee.

Lesson 2 – Bee Biology & Behavior
Length: 37:07
Dganit Eldar, school teacher
Melissa Donahue, Warner Park Nature Center

  • Basics of bee anatomy.
  • Types of bees and their role in the colony.
  • Bee social structure and the hive  as a “super organism”.

Lesson 3 – What Gear & Equipment Do You Need?
Length: 43:50
Trevor Qualls, Bon Aqua Springs Woodenware

  • What personal gear and equipment you need to get started.
  • What hive components you will need?
  • Key decisions about the type of hives you want to use.

Lesson 4 – Getting Bees and Getting Started
Barry Richards – 4th generation beekeeper

  • Where do you get your bees—collecting swarms, a bee “package” or a “nucleus hive”.
  • How to properly install your new bees.
  • Initial care required for newly installed bees.

Lesson 5 – Working and Inspecting Your Hives
Length: 44:14
Joel White, Past NABA president

  • What equipment you need to inspect your bees.
  • How to enter and inspect your hives.  (Great videos of an actual hive inspection)
  • What to look for inside the hive.

Lesson 6 – Managing Your Bee Colony
Length: 42:00
Harris Overholt, Life-long beekeeper & mentor

  • How do you manage your bee colonies on an on-going basis?
  • Basic techniques for managing and caring for your bees.
  • Actions to take when you observe a problem.

Lesson 7 – The Sweet Harvest of Honey
Length: 32:31
Gene Armstrong, NABA

  • What is the process bees use to make honey?
  • How do you help bees make honey?  
  • How do you harvest honey?  
  • What techniques are available for the small/medium/large operation beekeepers?

Lesson 8 – Honey Bee Pests and Diseases
Length: 58:50
David Cook, Davidson Co. Ag. Extension Agent

  • A wide range of pests and diseases that affect bees.
  • What are the key problems and how to detect them early?
  • Dealing with problems using the minimal necessary treatments.

Lesson 9 – Seasonal Management & Summary
Length: 1:09:58
Dr. John Skinner, TN State Apiculturist

  • The author of our text book, summarizes what is required to be a good beekeeper.
  • What you need to do with your bees during each season of the year.

Lesson 10 – Next Steps & How to Get Help
Length: 16:11
Dr. John Skinner, TN State Apiculturist
Gene Armstrong, NABA

  • Where do you go from here?
  • Resources that can help within the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.
  • Help available at the state level from UT Extension and the Department of Agriculture.