Monongalia County Beekeepers Association

Beginner's Page

While many of our members have decades of experience or are even internationally renowned for beekeeping knowledge, I want to start a page with information useful to the beginner. I have read about beekeeping since I was little, but only started my first 2 hives in the spring of 2009. So below I am listing some of the sources that have been helping me along, in addition to all the help the MCBA members have been to me.


Where to start:

Obviously the best way to start would be to take the WVU courses “ENTO 301 Apiculture and ENTO 302 Apiculture Laboratory” still offered by Professor Emeritus Dr. James Amrine, one of MCBA and the world of beekeeping’s best sources. I have not had this opportunity, but learned most of what I needed to get started from our president Mark Becilla who offers a course for beginners in the early spring. Click here for spring of 2016 course being offered. I understand a number of the surrounding county beekeeping groups offer similar classes throughout the year.



There are many books for beginning beekeepers, but the one I would suggest to start with to gauge your interest is Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston which I bought off Amazon, but can also be found at any of the suppliers on our link page. It is a fast and easy read as well as a good reference that I continue to use as I go into my third year with my hives.


Once you have read that and any of the many others out there, I would suggest subscribing to a periodical to keep you up to date on the beekeeping world. My experience is limited to the American Bee Journal which I have enjoyed. Some of our members prefer Bee Culture, but I do not know enough about it to compare them for you.


Internet Sources:

Well you found this site so I assume you are familiar with the huge store of information the internet offers and how to search for it. There are too many good sites out there to list, but one I found just recently might be a lot of help to someone who is either just starting or thinking about keeping honey bees. It is a series of videos produced by University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education called “Honey Bees and Beekeeping: A Year in the Life of an Apiary” and can be found on YouTube or Here. Make sure you find video 1.1 and work your way through if you want them in order. They start a 10 hive apiary from the very beginning including building the hives and frames, feeding and medicating and follow the bees over time. It is geared toward the novice. While there are many different styles and methods for beekeeping, I think these videos are really helpful and a great resource to start your search. And if you follow some of the links on those sites, there are many more detailed educational videos on honey bees.


Well this is a start. Keep checking back as I plan on adding a few other things such as lists of what equipment a beginner might need and such. Send me any ideas you may have for beginners as well.