Introduction to Beekeeping is self-paced and entirely digital.

This ten-module course introduces new or prospective beekeepers to the concepts and practical information needed to manage or start their first colony, foster hive health, and know what to expect in every season.

This course, taught by highly experienced beekeepers including Certified and Master beekeepers, covers honey bee biology, hive tools, and practical methods for the foundation of a successful first beekeeping experience.

The self-paced course opens February 1, 2021 and closes January 1, 2022.

  • BASIC GEAR: Tools for basic beekeeping

  • HIVE COMPONENTS: History of hive designs and modern beehives

  • BEE BIOLOGY: Castes, anatomy, bee communication through dancing and pheromones, and review of individual bees and the superorganism (the colony)

  • REPRODUCTION & SWARMS: How and why bees reproduce by swarming, and how to prevent and catch swarms

  • BEEKEEPING MANAGEMENT: Be prepared for what hives need in each season

  • PESTS & DISEASES: Learn the common and rare threats honey bees face

  • VARROA MONITORING & TREATMENT: Get familiar with how to keep your hives healthy against the #1 threat to honey bees today

  • CERTIFIED NATURALLY GROWN: Learn about this national accreditation for chemical-free beekeeping

  • INSTALLING PACKAGES & NUCS: Learn how to install a package or nuc of bees

  • BEE SMOKER: Understand how to choose and use a bee smoker


6 experienced beekeepers in 10 self-paced modules,
plus 1 year of membership to Chatham County Beekeepers Association


    Benefit from highly skilled beekeepers so that you don’t make beginner mistakes with your first hives.


    Learn hands-on techniques and hive management methods.


    Connect with your instructors and peers through an online discussion board, and use the CCBA listserv to learn what’s happening in other hives.


CCBA started in 1976 by beekeepers dedicated to supporting each other and fostering beekeeping in their community. CCBA helps nurture and grow beekeeping in our area, and promotes the critical contributions of bees and beekeepers.

Meet Your Instructors

Rebekah Gunn

Rebekah is a veterinarian. She graduated from NCSU's vet school, and went on to a residency in clinical pathology at UF. A native of Chatham County, she has been keeping bees since 2016. She is a member of the CCBA Board. Rebekah brings a deep interest, love, and knowledge of bee biology to the course.

David Jones

David is a longstanding Board member and valued mentor at CCBA. He is a Journeyman level beekeeper who has kept bees since 2011. He is an avid gardener and woodworker and makes all of his woodenware except for frames. He likes to experiment with new designs for equipment.

Julia Kopacz

Julia is a Chatham County native who has been keeping bees since 2014. An active Board member, Julia is also a NC Certified Beekeeper. She currently manages an apiary of 14 hives, placed in three different locations, and has just completed building a professional bottling kitchen for honey.

Jody Moore

Jody Moore has been keeping bees for over 20 years. He is a NCSBA Certified Master Beekeeper and a Certified NC Honey Producer. He is past President of the Chatham County Beekeepers Association and Co-Editor of the North Carolina Bee Buzz Magazine through the NCSBA. He is the owner and operator of Rocky River Bees out of Pittsboro, NC.

Phil Uptmor

Phil has been keeping honey bees since taking the beekeeping class in 2015 and currently manages around 25 colonies in four different apiaries. Phil is a past president of Chatham County Beekeepers and is a Journeyman beekeeper with the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association's master beekeeper program.

Gerald Wert

Gerald has been keeping bees since 2012. He specializes in treatment-free, chemical-free beekeeping. In addition, he is a highly experienced bee remover and relocater! Gerald currently maintains an apiary of 20 - 30 hives, with the goal of producing premium honey.

Course Syllabus

  • 1


    • Welcome to Introduction to Beekeeping

    • Course Syllabus

    • How to Navigate the Course

    • Incoming Student Survey

  • 2

    Tools of the Trade

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Smokers

    • Test Your Knowledge about Smokers!

    • Lesson 2: Hive Tools

    • Test Your Knowledge about Hive Tools!

    • Lesson 3: Bee Brush & Grip

    • Lesson 4: Queen Care

    • Lesson 5: Protective Gear

    • Test Your Knowledge about Protective Gear!

    • Lesson 6: Extra Equipment

    • Test Your Knowledge about Extra Equipment!

    • Conclusion

    • Tools of the Trade-Transcript

    • Resources and Downloads

  • 3

    Bee Smoker Basics

    • What to Expect

    • Lesson 1: Why Use Smoke?

    • Test Your Knowledge about Using Smoke!

    • Lesson 2: Smoker Parts

    • Test Your Knowledge about the Parts of the Smoker

    • Lesson 3: Choosing a Fuel

    • Test Your Knowledge about Choosing a Fuel!

    • Lesson 4: Steps to Light a Smoker

    • Smoker Lighting Demonstration

    • Test Your Knowledge about Lighting a Smoker!

    • Lesson 5: Cleaning a Smoker

    • Test Your Knowledge about Cleaning a Smoker!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Bee Smoker Basics-Transcript

  • 4

    Hive Components

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: History of Hives

    • Test Your Knowledge of History of Hives!

    • Lesson 2: Hive Components

    • Test Your Knowledge of Hive Components!

    • Lesson 3: Assembly and Finishing

    • Test Your Knowledge about Assembling and Finishing!

    • Lesson 4: Frames and Foundation

    • Test Your Knowledge about Frames and Foundation!

    • Lesson 5: Optional Equipment

    • Test Your Knowledge of Optional Equipment!

    • Lesson 6: Feeders

    • Test Your Knowledge of Feeders!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Hives-Transcript

  • 5

    Honey Bee Biology

    • Instructor Welcome

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Overview of Apis mellifera

    • Test Your Knowledge of Apis mellifera!

    • Lesson 2: Sexes and Castes

    • Test Your Knowledge of Sexes and Castes!

    • Lesson 3: Anatomy of the Honey Bee

    • Test Your Knowledge of the Anatomy of the Honey Bee!

    • Lesson 4: Life Cycle of the Honey Bee

    • Test Your Knowledge of the Honey Bee Life Cycle!

    • Lesson 5: Life Cycle of the Superorganism

    • Test Your Knowledge of the Superorganism Life Cycle!

    • Lesson 6: Communication

    • Test Your Knowledge of Honey Bee Communication!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Bee Biology-Transcript

  • 6

    Reproduction and Swarms

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Reproduction Basics

    • Test Your Knowledge on Reproduction Basics!

    • Lesson 2: The Swarming Process

    • Test Your Knowledge on Swarming!

    • Lesson 3: Swarm Capture

    • Test Your Knowledge on Capturing a Swarm!

    • Lesson 4: Swarm Prevention

    • Test Your Knowledge on Swarm Prevention!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Reproduction and Swarms-Transcript

  • 7

    Beekeeping and Seasonal Management

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Queen Management

    • Test Your Knowledge of Queen Management!

    • Lesson 2: Beekeeper Rules

    • Test Your Knowledge of Beekeeper Rules!

    • Lesson 3: Record Keeping

    • Test Your Knowledge of Record Keeping!

    • Lesson 4a: Seasonal Management: Spring

    • Test Your Knowledge of Spring Hive Management!

    • Lesson 4b: Seasonal Management: Summer

    • Test Your Knowledge of Summer Hive Management!

    • Lesson 4c: Seasonal Management: Fall

    • Test Your Knowledge of Fall Hive Management!

    • Lesson 4d: Seasonal Management: Winter

    • Test Your Knowledge of Winter Hive Management!

    • Lesson 5: Planting for Honey Bees

    • Test Your Knowledge of Planting for Honey Bees!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Beekeeping and Seasonal Management-Transcript

  • 8

    Honey Bee Pests

    • What to Expect

    • Lesson 1: What is a Pest?

    • Test Your Knowledge of Pests!

    • Lesson 2: Bacterial Diseases

    • Test Your Knowledge of Bacterial Diseases!

    • Lesson 3: Other Pests

    • Test Your Knowledge of Other Pests!

    • Lesson 4: Other Common Colony Disorders

    • Test Your Knowledge of Other Common Colony Disorders!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Pests and Diseases-Transcript

  • 9

    Varroa Monitoring and Treatment

    • What to Expect

    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Varroa Destructor History

    • Test Your Knowledge about Varroa Destructor History!

    • Lesson 2: Effect of Varroa on the Honey Bee

    • Test Your Knowledge of the Effect of Varroa on the Honey Bee!

    • Lesson 3: Monitoring for Varroa

    • Test Your Knowledge of Monitoring for Varroa!

    • Lesson 4: Integrated Pest Management

    • Test Your Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management

    • Lesson 5: Treatment Options

    • Test Your Knowledge of Treatment Options!

    • Lesson 6: Post-Treatment Responsibilities

    • Test Your Knowledge of Post-Treatment Responsibilities

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Varroa Monitoring-Transcript

  • 10

    Certified Naturally Grown, Explained

    • What to Expect

    • Lesson 1: The CNG Program

    • Test Your Knowledge about the CNG Program!

    • Lesson 2: CNG Apiary and Certification Standards

    • Test Your Knowledge of CNG Apiary and Certification Standards!

    • Lesson 3: CNG Farming Website

    • Test Your Knowledge of CNG Farming website!

    • Lesson 4: Chemicals and CNG

    • Test Your Knowledge of Chemicals and CNG!

    • Lesson 5: Treating Pests and Varroa

    • Test Your Knowledge of Treatments for Pests and Varroa!

    • Lesson 6: Hive Placement

    • Test Your Knowledge of Hive Placement!

    • Lesson 7: Beneficial Plants

    • Test Your Knowledge of Beneficial Plants!

    • Lesson 8: Types of Bees

    • Test Your Knowledge about Types of Bees

    • CNG-Transcript

  • 11

    Installing Packages and Nucleus Hives

    • What to Expect

    • Lesson 1: Package Basics and Preparation

    • Test Your Knowledge of Package Basics!

    • Lesson 2: Opening the Package

    • Test Your Knowledge of Opening the Package!

    • Lesson 3: Installing a Package

    • Test Your Knowledge of Installing a Package!

    • Lesson 4: Nucleus Hives

    • Test Your Knowledge of Nucleus Hives!

    • Resources and Downloads

    • Installing Packages and Nucs-Transcript


  • What do I get for the $25 cost of the course?

    You will receive:

    1. Ongoing access to the course until January 1, 2022
    2. Free membership in CCBA for 2021 ($10 value)
    3. A certificate of completion
    4. Downloadable resources for use offline.

  • What's the course exactly?

    The Introduction to Beekeeping includes an online course consisting of 10 lessons, an ongoing discussion group, downloadable supporting materials, and, finally a live Zoom class that will be used to answer questions.

  • How long does this course last?

    The Introduction to Beekeeping course is self-paced. You can work through the modules any way it works for you. The discussion board, which is real-time, will be a dynamic part of the experience. Your access to the course will expire on January 1, 2022

  • Do I get some kind of credit for the course?

    Those who complete the course will be issued a certificate of completion. This certificate is not associated with any larger organization or state agency.

  • How can I contact you?

    We are always happy to hear from you! Simply contact us through our contact form .