The Beekeeping Year

East Lothian Beekeepers Association holds beginner classes every year. The classes cover the theoretical and practical basics of beekeeping and give a solid grounding for the new beekeeper.

During the active season, members are encouraged to host an open day at their apiary to which all members are invited. These prove to be both informative and enjoyable.

During the winter months, the association runs a series of talks and lectures given by invited speakers. Our events page has further details. Members are on the mailing list, so do check for updates.

Beekeeping Courses

(Courses for 2024 have sold out)

Courses cover the basic ideas and skills of beekeeping and give the new beekeeper a good foundation. Plus, it’s a great place to meet other beginners. When booking a course, it is important to only book one course. Please do not book both courses!

Visit the booking page to view available spaces

The course fees are £80 which include association membership and mentoring. 
EMAIL to be put on the reserve list if all places taken

Terms and Conditions of booking
Payment for any courses must be made in full at the time of booking.

Bookings cancelled more than one month before the commencement of the course will receive a refund less a £10 admin fee. Less than one month no refund will be payable. If the cancelled course can be resold, then a refund may be payable, less a £10 admin fee.

Inspecting the beehive

February 2024 (sold out)
Introduction To Beekeeping

The course is designed for those interested in bees and beekeeping and
will provide information on the fascinating world of honey bees. It will
be held over six weeks starting on Tuesday February 13th 2024. The
course will be held in The Fraser Centre, Tranent, on Tuesday evenings
from 7pm to 9pm. The course fee includes one year membership of the
East Lothian Beekeepers’ Association.


Week 1. Introduction; what is a honeybee, origins of bees; history of beekeeping, honey hunting, skeps, Langstroth; importance of beekeeping
Week 2. The colony; the queen, workers and drones; division of work within the hive; individual life cycles; pollination, nectar and honey; local forage crops
Week 3. The Hive; hive components; brood box; supers; different types of hive; practical: making frames
Week 4. The beekeeping year; preparation for winter; spring management, inspections,  summer build up; harvesting honey; wax, propolis and pollen; selling honey.
Week 5. Pests and Diseases; pests; brood diseases; adult bee diseases; varroa; statutory requirements
Week 6. Swarms and the reason for swarming (causes, natural history, primary and casts); swarm control; swarm collection
After the course
Practical beekeeping demonstrations will be held in May 2024, weather permitting.


May 2024 (sold out)
Practical Beekeeping For Beginners

The course is suitable for complete beginners and those who have recently acquired a colony but have yet to attend a course in beekeeping. The general ethos of the course is to introduce the theory elements as an integral part of the practical sessions. Whenever possible, each weekly session will be held outside in the apiary.
If you have booked the February course, please do not book this course.


Syllabus: Bees are wild, unpredictable creatures, and it is hard to predict in advance which set of challenges the bees will present on a week-by-week basis.
As a result the course will cover the following topics, but in no particular order:-

  • Types of beehive, hive components, making of frames, beekeeping equipment
  • The colony: queen, workers, drones, their life cycle and functions
  • Products of the hive: honey, wax, pollen and propolis
  • Swarming; reasons, primes and casts, swarm collection and hiving
  • Swarm control; the 7 day inspection
  • Swarm management; horizontal and vertical splits, nukes
  • Pests and diseases
  • Processing the crop