Beekeepers tending to hive in a meadow

Beekeeper Training

For anyone considering becoming a beekeeper it is essential to do both a Theory and a Practical Course. Guildford Beekeepers Association (GBKA) has been running both Theory and Practical Courses for many years and our experience in this field is exemplary. We take pride in providing a solid grounding in the craft so that beginners have the confidence to manage bees on their own. Trainees are further supported by automatic membership with GBKA during the course, with access to the Apiary at weekends. When the trainees acquire their bees, there is a mentoring scheme through which they can contact a more experienced member to help them through the first years.

Theory Course

The Theory course starts in January and runs for 9 weeks, partly via Zoom and partly at the Associations Teaching Apiary at Birtley Brook.

Book here

Below is a summary of what is covered on our Theory course:

  • Course Introduction
  • The worker bee - development, activities and pollination.
  • Bee nests - honey bee requirements, bee space, hive parts, colony size. Types of hive.
  • Queens & drones, genders & castes, mating. Drone laying queens and laying workers.
  • Bee diseases – AFB & EFB including statutory requirements. Other brood diseases, notifiable pests, Varroa mite and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
  • Other pests, including Asian hornet.
  • Setting up an apiary, the apiary year, extracting honey
  • Swarming - natural and artificial swarms, hiving a swarm, uniting colonies.
  • Getting started, equipment, making frames.

Practical Course

The Practical Course starts in mid-April. The course is usually held on Saturdays between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm at our lovely Teaching Apiary at Birtley Brook. This is in a beautiful setting in the grounds of Birtley House. We have fantastic facilities in our own Barn. There are several different hive types used so that students can experience different management options.

Book here

The Practical courses put into practice everything that has been taught on the Theory Course and prepares trainees to be ready to deal with the unexpected!

Here are a few of the comments we have had from students on our courses:

"Well what can I say about the first meeting….what a warm welcome!"

"The extent of knowledge and practical experience is amazing."

"With the number of hives at the apiary I think I have seen (and worked on) most issues that could arise."

Bee pollinating flower


The cost of the courses are given on the Booking form below. A discount is available if both courses are booked together. Please be aware that there is also a non-refundable deposit of £25.00 when accepted on the course. The course must be paid for in full by the 1st September before the course commences.

To register an interest in either or both courses or to book please contact [email protected] or submit the form below.

Taster Sessions

We normally hold a Taster Session for those people who are just interested in bees or those considering doing our full training course. The Taster Session is usually held in July at the Birtley Brook Apiary from 2.00 pm to 4:30 pm.

Please contact us if you are interested in attending: [email protected] or submit the form below.

Booking Form



January 2023
April 2023
1st July 2023