Beekeeping for Beginners

This course is an introduction to the subject, with the emphasis on the practical aspects of bee-keeping and is designed for beginners.  We will have a look at some beehives but not the inhabitants on this occasion.  Today is a theory-only day (but Simon manages to make quite a dry subject funny).  The practical Hands on the Hive is another course, with only a few people each time, so needs to be booked up early.  See separate entry.


Course content:

History, stings, the inhabitants of the hive, life cycle, equipment, locating hives, stocking hives, collecting a swarm, bee space, first inspection, marking the queen and clipping her wings, swarming, building up a weak stock, hive products, harvest, extracting, bottling and marketing.              

Please let us know if you cannot attend at the last minute as there are usually waiting lists for these courses.

Books to read (beforehand makes it easier to understand!)

Frank Vernon, Teach Yourself Beekeeping, Hodder & Stoughton 

Ted Hooper, Guide to Bees and Honey, Marston House

Oliver Field, Honey by the Ton, Northern Bee Books (01422 882751)

Comments from past participants:

Simon presents the course in a very interesting manner and makes it thoroughly enjoyable and very easily understood.  Excellent lunch and delicious chocolate cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 'introduction to beekeeping' day. We were given so much information both verbally and in the 'course notes'. I tend not to wear a watch and I was amazed at the time we finished. An informative and very interesting day.  Jan H

Learnt a lot today - very interesting and informative.  Lunch was superb - I am a chef so I was very impressed.  Sarah B

The course was absolutely fantastic.  The facilities were beautiful.  The general atmosphere was one of friendly helpfulness.  Overall, a brilliant course in a beautiful place with a helpful and informative tutor.  I would recommend a course at Assington Mill.  

Brilliant introduction to bees.  Much better than the books!  Simon is extremely approachable and very funny.

All relevant points covered with great humour.  Learnt a lot more than anticipated.  Much more involved in beekeping than I thought.  Luncheon was excellent.  Kay L

Home baked and cooked food absolutely wonderful - delicious!  and much appreciated for those of us who don't ever have shop bought. 

Very pleased with the day.  You are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful place!

I had some doubts as to whether I could keep bees when I arrived, but Simon Cousins has convinced me that it's easier than it seems to be.  Very good, practical course.  Julie B

Excellent course, very welcoming as well as informative.  Food was excellent.  Would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in bees (or not).  Simon's enthusiasm is contagious.  Lisa L

Simon is a great presenter and a lovely chap - kept our attention the whole day.  Fascinating subject.  Sophie & James B

I really enjoyed the beekeeping course.  Simon explained everything I wanted to know and made it fun too!  The venue was gorgeous.  I absolutely adored the place and the food.  Andrea C

Really excellent, many thanks.  Fabulous gluten-free food.

So friendly and welcoming and delicious food.  Welcoming to vegetarians.  Thanks.

Good introdution to basics, before any investment.  Next stage, hands on trial to see if able to handle bees and following an experienced keeper to get general knowledge.  David L

I loved Simon's sense of humour.  Jean

Amazing venue and lunch.  Lots of information, entertaining and meeting new people.

With any beginners course it is hard to know what you will need to know (the whole not knowing what you don’t know thing).  What I got was a solid grounding and real confidence from which to start so just what I would want and might have expected.  (On reflection it covered what one might imagine are the key things).  Simon clearly had  a list (history, swarm etc) of broad topics that he wanted to get through and shared that on the day and I wonder/suggest that it would be good to share this with participants in advance just so that there was a bit more detail of what would be covered.  This is a minor thing and certainly not a serious criticism.  I liked the sidetracked approach although some may want a tighter focus and this must help.  Tutor was excellent, perfect mix of humour and knowledge but most of all enthusiasm which is what carries everyone along, breaking up the day with walk/role play helped to keep everyone tuned in.  Food absolutely first class and atmosphere lovely.  You feel more like a guest than a customer.  You have a delightful set up here, great way to spend a day (and learn!).

Fun, informative and friendly day in idyllic surroundings.  Thoroughly enjoyable learning experience.  Thanks.  

A lovely day in a great location.  Love all the things you are doing at Assington Mill.  Thanks for the home cooked meal and biscuits.

A wonderful, rustic and wholesome setting, packed with brilliant courses.  A place you will always return to.  Craig K




Simon Cousins - bees
Sunday, 18 March, 2018

Times9.45 for 10 - 5


What to Bring

  • Warm clothing, especially shoes and socks. 
  • You will be glad of wellies when we go to look at the beehives.