This class covers a basic introduction to bees, beekeeping and honey production. Each class allows students the opportunity to suit up (bee suits are provided and required) and gain hands-on experience at our onsite apiary. Students will learn basic beekeeping skills from the following 6 knowledge areas:
- Fundamentals of beekeeping
- The basic parts of a bee hive
- How to properly wear a beekeeping suit
- Visiting a live bee hive
- Honey extraction
- Honey tasting
This workshop teaches participants all they need to know to completely assemble their own hives, populate the hives with honeybees, and harvest honey. They can then take this new knowledge to the next step of purchasing their own bees and equipment, and establishing their own hives.
Special Note: All participants must be at least 7 years old and are required to adhere to our dress code in order to participate.
What Is Not Included?
- -----------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT CLASS & POLICIES-------------------------
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance? Can I pay with cash?
- Tickets must be purchased in advance, as we have limited capacity and classes often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the class you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. Cash is not accepted.
- Are classes held in bad weather?
- Classes are held in light to moderate rain but not in severe weather as the entire class takes place outside. In the event of inclement weather, we will use ponchos to protect both ourselves and the bees from getting wet. In cold and wet conditions class participants huddle close to the hives to keep out rain and cold, allowing them to take a quick look inside the hive without harming it. In the event we needed to cancel for severe weather, students would be allowed to reschedule to another class (subject to availability) or receive a credit for a future class.
- Are the beekeeping classes appropriate for children?
- Children 7 and older are welcome to participate, but younger children are not allowed. Please note that all children, regardless of age, need a paid ticket.
- What if I am allergic to bee stings?
- Please let us know if you or anyone in your group has a bee sting allergy when purchasing your tickets. As long as we know in advance, we can often accommodate the student's needs by having them stand further away from the hive than others. It is your responsibility to ensure you are properly prepared, so we encourage you to bring an Epi-pen prescribed by your doctor as we do not have one available. It is important to note, however, that well over 3500 people have attended our classes, and not a single person has ever been stung.
- Does the class take place indoors or outdoors?
- The entire class takes place outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the day's weather.
- How should I dress for the class?
- For everyone's safety, all students are required to adhere to our dress code recommendations in order to participate. Regardless of the weather, students must wear blue jeans or long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, boots or shoes that cover your ankle as well as a hat or bandana. If you do not have shoes that cover your ankles, you should wear at least two pairs of socks that cover your ankles. Participants that are not dressed appropriately, will not be allowed to participate in class for their own safety.
- What should I bring with me to class?
- We recommend all students bring a couple of important things with them. All students should bring their signed Participant Agreement with them, which can be downloaded from the Round Rock Honey website. In addition, if it's hot outside we encourage you to bring a bottle of water as it can get hot in those bee suits.
- If a class is sold out can I get on a waiting list?
- We do not provide a waiting list. If a date is sold out please check our class calendar for available tickets on another available date. However, sometimes if a class is sold out, there may be a chance we will add an additional class. Please contact us by clicking on the "Contact Beekeeping" link to the left of the page to let us know what date you are interested in.
- Does this class have anything to offer an experienced beekeeper?
- Yes, it can but keep in mind that the class is mostly designed to introduce new-bees to beekeeping.
- I took this class a year ago. Has anything changed?
- We change the class slightly every six to eight months. Many parts of the class remain the same, but we do our best to improve upon and enhance the class, and each instructor offers unique insights and opinions.
- How much standing will we do during the class?
- About one half of the class is spent sitting as you listen to the instructor, while during the other half we will be standing as we view the hive.
- Is the class wheelchair accessible?
- Those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility should be able to attend. Please keep in mind that students need to be able to travel approximately 100 yards across a grassy field of uneven terrain. If anyone has limited mobility and has further questions, please click on the "Contact Beekeeping" link to discuss before purchasing a ticket.
- What if I’ve heard great things about a particular instructor?
- Round Rock Honey has been in business since 2003, and we’re proud to say we receive excellent feedback on all of our instructors! They are all friendly and love to share their knowledge about bees. We’re sorry, but we cannot guarantee a particular instructor.
- Is there a bathroom available?
- Yes, there is a nearby bathroom that students can use.
- Is there parking available nearby?
- Yes, there is plenty of free street parking available nearby.
- Are classes offered only in English?
- Yes, we only offer classes in English at this time. If you would like to make arrangements for your own interpreter to participate in a class, please contact us by clicking on the "Contact Beekeeping" link to the left.
- May I bring my dog to the class?
- Pets of any kind are not allowed at the class.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, gift certificates are available for our classes and make a perfect gift for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! To purchase a gift certificate, please click on the "Contact Beekeeping" link to the left of the page.
- Can I book a private class?
- Yes, private classes are available. To inquire about a private class, please click on the "Contact Beekeeping" link to discuss your group's needs.
- --------------------------GENERAL BEEKEEPING QUESTIONS---------------------------
- How much does it cost to get started in beekeeping?
- It’s hard to put an exact figure on it, but based on our experience, we'd estimate our start-up costs for 2 hives and 2 colonies (the hive is the house, the colony is the bees) plus protective gear and tools were around $500.
- Where do you get bees? Do you have to buy them too?
- Yes, for approximately $75 you can purchase a queen bee and a package of about 10,000 worker bees. The whole set comes in a wooden box with wire mesh sides, with the queen in a separate cage hanging inside. The door of her cage is plugged with candy. You take the queen’s cage out of the box, install it in a hive, pour the workers in there with her, and close it all up. It takes the workers a few days to chew through the candy, and by the time they release the queen they’ve gotten accustomed to her pheromones and she’s their queen. She starts laying eggs, and the workers start working, and the next thing you know you’ve got a functioning hive.
- What do I need to know to get started?
- The first thing you need to know is that you can only start new beehives in the early spring, but it takes a lot of research and some prep-work to get ready. We suggest starting to read and maybe taking some classes the year before buying your first package of bees. Buy yourself a copy of The Beekeepers Handbook, V.4, or Beekeeping For Dummies and start reading. You’ll probably want to read some other books as well, and one of the first things you’ll realize is that most of them disagree with each other. Don’t let that bother you – that’s just beekeeping, everyone has a different opinion about the right way to do things. Please also note the demand for honeybees currently exceeds the supply, so you’ll want to plan on placing your order in December (or earlier) so you can get them the following April.
- How much room do you need to keep bees? Do you need to have a bunch of flowers nearby?
- You don’t need much room at all. In fact, this class is held on the rooftop of a church. As for flowers – the bees from a single hive will forage across an area that covers over 2 square miles. They also collect pollen and nectar from all sorts of growing things from weeds all the way up to trees. Unless you live in a desert, the girls will find something to eat.
- Aren’t all the honeybees dying or something? What causes that?
- A few years ago beekeepers were losing a lot more hives than usual, and there weren’t any signs of the usual diseases or infestations (mostly from mites) that generally affect honeybees. The disease was called Colony Collapse Disorder, and no one could figure out what was causing it. For the most part they still haven’t, which is what made the whole thing so alarming. It wasn’t really the number of hives lost – it was the lack of an identifiable reason for it. The good news is that reports of hive loss due to CCD have dropped dramatically over the last year or two, so whatever was causing it, it seems to have passed for now.
- Can you make money selling the honey?
- That depends on where you live, what sort of things bloom there and how much nectar your local plants produce. Honeybees can thrive and survive just about anywhere, and no matter where you live they can produce some extra honey you can harvest. Commercial beekeeping on the other hand, needs some pretty specific conditions to be viable, and those conditions just don’t exist everywhere. We suggest if you get into beekeeping, to plan to harvest enough honey for your own needs and maybe some to give to friends and family. If you enjoy it and end up with more honey than you can use, then consider selling it.
- How much work is involved?
- Not a lot, really. During the busiest times of the year, under normal circumstances, maybe an hour or so each weekend. Like a lot of hobbies, you can sink about as much time into it as you want, depending on how involved you get and what kinds of things you want to try. Start slow, with two hives your first year, and work your way up from there if you get into it.
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- All participants must sign a participant agreement.
- All participants are required to sign a participant agreement before taking the class. Participants under the age of 18 must have an adult or guardian sign the participant agreement for them.
- All participants must follow recommended dress code.
- For safety reasons, all students are required to adhere to our dress code recommendations. Students must wear blue jeans/long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, boots/shoes that cover the ankle as well as a hat/bandana. If your shoes do not cover your ankles, you should wear at least two pairs of socks. Participants that are not dressed appropriately, will not be allowed to participate.
- Children under 7 are not allowed to participate.
- Children 7 and older are welcome to participate, but younger children are not allowed. Please note that all children, regardless of age, are required to have a paid ticket and are strongly recommended to participate with a parent/guardian.
Round Rock Honey Beekeeping Academy
In taking part in one of our classes, you’ll be a part of a beekeeping class that has been featured in the The New York Times, The Dallas Observer, the Austin American-Statesman, as well as many other publications, for imparting nectar neophytes with honey-harvesting basics.
We currently offer beekeeping classes in a number of cities including Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and San Francisco.