Best Online Beekeeping Classes

Learn a unique hobby

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Beekeeper checking honeycomb with honeybees

 

Westend61 / Getty Images

As homesteading and urban agriculture gain popularity, beekeeping has also become an intriguing hobby—and perhaps an intimidating one. If you’ve considered nurturing a backyard bee colony but aren’t sure where to start, there are a number of online resources that can help. The best online beekeeping classes offer high-quality course materials and experienced instructors, all at an accessible price point. Here are our top picks for the best online beekeeping classes.

Best Overall: PerfectBee Academy (PerfectBee)

PerfectBee Academy (PerfectBee)

PerfectBee Academy (PerfectBee)

Why We Chose It: PerfectBee Academy is our top pick because the platform provides students with a totally comprehensive collection of free and paid classes, including a flexible monthly membership option. 

What We Like:

  • Students can access more than 100 lessons and nine webinars
  • Gives students the option of paying for classes on a monthly basis
  • Courses are tailored to hobbyists, but also include tips for selling bee products

What We Don’t Like:

  • Students don’t have access to course materials indefinitely 

As a beekeeping education and supply company, PerfectBee Academy is a robust resource for current beekeepers and those who are considering beekeeping as a hobby. Specifically tailored to hobbyists, the program includes three online courses with more than 100 individual lessons, nine webinars, access to a members-only Facebook group, and discounts in the PerfectBee online store. Students who pass all exams will also receive a printable certificate of completion. 

As part of the PerfectBee Academy membership, Learn About Bees, or the basics, covers sections on the science of bees, the roles of drone, queen, and worker bees, and an intro to beekeeping topics—including natural beekeeping and urban beekeeping. Course two, Your Beehive, gets into the nitty-gritty of beekeeping and shows students what equipment and clothing they need to get started. The third session, A Healthy Beehive, introduces students to common threats to bees, how to inspect your beehive to keep it healthy, and what to do when you’re ready to harvest.

PerfectBee offers two membership options for its Academy: a monthly membership for about $10 per month, or an annual one for roughly $99, which breaks down to around $8 per month—or two free months of membership. The platform also offers a free introductory course that provides basic beekeeping information.

Best for Hobbyists: Beekeeping 101 (PennState Extension)

Beekeeping 101 (PennState Extension)

Beekeeping 101 (PennState Extension)

Why We Chose It: PennState Extension’s Beekeeping 101 class boasts an extensive range of topics, high-quality instruction, and excellent customer reviews. 

What We Like:

  • Course includes everything you need to know to become a hobbyist beekeeper
  • Positive reviews from both beginner and experienced beekeepers
  • Includes access to course work for one full year

What We Don’t Like:

  • Price is higher than some options

Offered through PennState Extension, this Beekeeping 101 class includes 10 self-paced sections with nine hours of video content. The program has a price tag of about $159 for one year of access to course materials. Topics cover areas of study like bee biology and behavior, how to manage a hive throughout the year, types of diseases and other threats faced by bees, necessary beekeeping equipment, and how to harvest and market bee products.

Not only does the instructor have expertise in beekeeping (as well as small fruit, vegetables, and green industry), reviews for the course are overwhelmingly positive. Former students highlight the user-friendly student platform, informative materials, and enjoyable presentation of content. Many reviewers also commented on how helpful the online course is for both beginner and experienced beekeepers. 

In addition to PennState Extension’s Beekeeping 101 course, the platform offers a number of helpful (and free) online beekeeping resources so you can do a deep dive into topics like honey bee diseases and wild bee conservation.

Best Written Materials: Beekeeping Made Easy (Discover Beekeeping)

Beekeeping Made Easy (Discover Beekeeping)

Beekeeping Made Easy (Discover Beekeeping)

Why We Chose It: If you prefer to learn new skills via e-book and other written resources, Discover Beekeeping’s Beekeeping Made Easy class is a great pick.

What We Like:

  • Low price for a large volume of content 
  • Users receive a download to all of the PDFs immediately after placing an order
  • Purchase includes lifetime access to all of the materials

What We Don’t Like:

  • Does not include the option of video-based learning

Unlike other options on our list, the Discover Beekeeping class is a collection of ebooks and written materials, rather than lecture videos or a hybrid of reading and video. Offered for about $27, the class also includes access to a number of bonus resources, including ebooks about organic gardening, how to extract honey, and the nutritional benefits of honey. 

As part of the course, Beekeeping Made Easy covers subjects like the type of equipment needed to get started, how to identify and treat parasites and diseases, hive location and colony installation, and how to turn beekeeping into a profitable hobby or business.

Materials can be viewed on computers, tablets, and smartphones, and customers find that they are informative and provide an excellent resource to those navigating beekeeping for the first time. That said, the author offers a 60-day, 100% money-back guarantee in case you aren’t totally satisfied.

Best for Natural Beekeeping: Natural Beekeeping with Philip Chandler (Learning with experts)

Natural Beekeeping with Philip Chandler (Learning with experts)

Natural Beekeeping with Philip Chandler (Learning with experts)

Why We Chose It: Learning with experts’ Natural Beekeeping course made our list because it provides an opportunity to receive personalized coaching and feedback.

What We Like:

  • Online classroom lets learners interact with other students in the course
  • Students can opt to receive assignment feedback and personalized coaching
  • Has excellent reviews 

What We Don’t Like:

  • Does not include topics related to harvesting and selling honey

Offering courses on everything from photography to gardening, Learning with experts happens to be a standout for its natural beekeeping classes.

Topics include a primer on the lifecycle of bees and how humans can build a mutually beneficial relationship with them, types of beehives recommended for natural beekeeping, and how to avoid interference with bees when using a top bar hive. The course also goes into the specifics of establishing a healthy colony by providing optimal conditions and supporting their natural behavior. 

Students can choose from two grading options, each available at a different price point. The expert option costs about $299 and includes personal assignment feedback and coaching from the teacher, Philip Chandler (also known as the Barefoot Beekeeper). Alternatively, the peer option costs about $99 and provides access to all of the same course materials, including the online classroom with group chat and direct messaging with other learners. However, this more affordable option does not include a certificate, and assignments aren’t graded.

Best for Queen Bee Breeding: Queen Bee Breeding for Backyard Beekeeping (Udemy)

Queen Bee Breeding for Backyard Beekeeping (Udemy)

 Queen Bee Breeding for Backyard Beekeeping (Udemy)

Why We Chose It: If you’ve already completed an introductory beekeeping course and are ready to better understand the needs of queen bees, Udemy’s Queen Bee Breeding for Backyard Beekeeping course is a solid option.

What We Like:

  • Prospective students can watch sample videos and view the curriculum before signing up
  • Students report that the course is enjoyable, informative, and accessible
  • Udemy frequently offers promotional pricing on individual courses

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not suited for beginner beekeepers

Udemy is an online learning platform that offers a huge range of courses, including several on beekeeping. Queen Bee Breeding for Backyard Beekeeping is available for roughly $50, but Udemy offers several opportunities to save money with promotional pricing throughout the year. Students can also take advantage of the platform’s 30-day money-back guarantee if they’re not satisfied with the program. 

Like other options we considered, materials for the class is offered entirely online, and include videos on topics like locating a queen in a colony, preparing a nucleus hive for queen cells, and safely handling a queen bee.

Because of the in-depth nature of this online beekeeping class, it does not cover less advanced topics like the basics of beekeeping. That said, Udemy provides several free preview videos so you can make sure you’re comfortable with the materials and lecture-style before signing up.

Final Verdict

Beekeeping can be an incredibly gratifying hobby, but it requires a good deal of knowledge and equipment to get started. And, because beekeeping involves caring for delicate and ecologically valuable insects, it’s important to understand the ins and outs before getting started. For that reason, the best online beekeeping classes provide students with accessible, thoughtful, and in-depth instruction that will actually help them get started with beekeeping.

Our number one pick overall—PerfectBee Academy—offers students the ability to choose from a free introductory lesson or a paid monthly or annual membership with even more extensive course materials. Online learners benefit from the program's experienced instructors, as well as a range of online resources to support their learning.

What Are Online Beekeeping Classes?

Online beekeeping classes help you learn about bee biology, behavior, and management through science and practice. You'll learn everything from how to start a beehive and beekeeping tactics to what equipment you need to sustain your bees.

What Equipment Do I Need for Beekeeping?

To start your adventure in beekeeping, you'll need protective clothing (a bee suit, gloves, and shoes to keep you safe), along with hives, a smoker (to mask bees' pheromones), a hive tool, a queen catcher, frames (for the foundation of your hives), and a bee brush (to remove bees from the frames).

How We Chose the Best Online Beekeeping Classes

In choosing the best online beekeeping classes, we evaluated 15 courses and compared them based on factors like format, price, and curriculum. We also considered each course’s intended audience, online learning platforms, and reviews from former students. Ultimately, we aimed to choose courses that would appeal to a range of Treehugger readers at a variety of price points.