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Bee-Centred Beekeeping Classes

Beekeeping Classes… and other ways to become a Bee-Centred Beekeeper 

Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary runs Introduction To Bee-Centred Beekeeping classes where we show you everything you need to begin your journey with these fascinating creatures and become a registered beekeeper yourself.

Next available classes:

The cost for this 12 hour classes is $440 ($340 concession).  Early bird discounts rates are available.

To book or for more information please call 0490 399 319 or 0416 084 018.

What is Bee-Centred Beekeeping and how is it different from conventional/commercial beekeeping? Click here to find out.

What will be covered in this course?                                                     ################

Using a combination of different delivery methods you will learn everything you need to begin your journey with these fascinating creatures and become a registered beekeeper yourself.

We will discuss exactly what Bee-Centred Beekeping is and how it differs from the conventional/commercial style.

We will show you how to catch and hive a swarm of bees (free bees!) and how to look after them throughout the year.

We will talk about the importance of natural comb and how to harvest pure natural raw honey from your own garden without the need for expensive equipment.

You will have an opportunity to look, in real life, at the different styles of hives used in bee-centred beekeeping (Natural-Cell Langstroth, Warre, Kenyan and Long Langstroth) so you can easily decide which suits you best and there will be opportunities to look inside working hives and handle the bees (weather permitting). 

We usually process honey (if available) from the comb and you get to take a jar (and/or some comb honey) home with you. We may even have a taste of some home-made meads (honey wine).

We usually have a guest speaker talk to us about their experience with bees and beekeeping using video conference technology.

One of our previous guest speakers was Professor Thomas D. Seeley best known as the author of the hugely popular book Honeybee Democracy.

Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, where he teaches courses in animal behavior and does research on the behavior, social life, and ecology of honey bees. Seeley is a champion of api-centric beekeeping. His passion for the bees and groundbreaking research has brought new understanding into the world of honeybees. He has written four books focusing on honeybees: Honeybee Ecology (1985, Princeton), The Wisdom of the Hive (1995, Harvard), Honeybee Democracy (2010, Princeton), and Following the Wild Bees (2016, Princeton)

After the course, ongoing support will also be available directly from Daniel (BeeShepherd) Johnson and you will be invited to join an online community of like-minded beekeepers.

The following is a typical schedule for a 10 hour class held over two days:


Session 1, 10.00 – 11.15

Introduction – What Is Your Goal?
What is Bee-Centred Beekeeping ?

Morning Tea, 11.15 – 11.30
Session 2, 11.30 – 12.30

Introduction To Apis Mellifera (The Honeybee)

Lunch, 12.30 – 1.00 (visit to a Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary apiary)
Session 3, 1.00 – 2.15

Conventional -vs- Bee-Centred Beekeeping

Afternoon Tea, 2.15 – 2.30
Session 4, 2.30 – 4.00

Harvesting Products of The Hive & Honey Processing (visual presentation & demonstration)
Legalities Involved In Setting Up An Apiary and Registering As A Beekeeper


Session 1, 10.00 – 11.15

Introduction and Recap
Guest speaker: TBA

Morning Tea, 11.15 – 11.30
Session 2, 11.30 – 12.30

What To Look For When Inspecting Your Colony
Bee Stings & Bee Sting Therapy

Lunch, 12.30 – 1.00
Session 3, 1.00 – 2.15 

How To Get Bees And Establish A Colony
Pests & Diseases (no notes refer to book and info in Legalities page)
Swarms & Cutouts

Afternoon Tea, 2.15 – 2.30
Session 4, 2.30 – 4.00 (field trip)

Different Styles Of Beehives Pros and Cons & What Makes A Beehive Bee-Centric?
Choosing A Backyard Apiary Site


To book this class or for more information please call Daniel 0490 399 319 or Ilana 0416 084 018


“Hi Daniel, just a note to pass on my thanks and appreciation on the Introduction to Bee-Centred Bee-Keeping course you conducted this weekend. It was a very well organised and conducted course that gave us (the participants), a very thorough introduction into the world of Bee-centred Bee-keeping. Your depth of knowledge and passion for the well-being of the European Honey Bee was awesome and quite inspiring. The information you imparted as well the breadth of resources and reference materials you shared, has boosted my confidence and given me more options in making better informed choices as I begin my Bee journey.
Warmest regards”
– Jason, Bendigo, Victoria

“I did just want to say a big thank you for sharing your boundless enthusiasm and knowledge on all things bees with us.
While I’d had some prior bee experience and even though it was designed as a beginners class, I found your practical approach so helpful and your commitment to bee-centric beekeeping really inspiring.”
– Shane, Faraday, Victoria

“I have loved and appreciated bees for a very long time now and completing Daniels beekeeping course helped to broaden my understanding for bees and how we as beekeepers can best facilitate and protect their hives. This course has deepened my appreciation and knowledge for bees and the beekeeping industry. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge and beekeeping practice.”
– Flow, Campbells Creek, Victoria

“I would like to thank you for your course on the weekend as I found it very rewarding as I gained valuable information in my quest to attain knowledge about these fascinating insects. I found all your topics very relevant especially the practical aspects. I was surprised how easy it was to catch a swarm and how docile the bees were. I am also very interested in the plans of the hive you have designed. You have definitely encouraged me to pursue the bee journey and I would recommend your course to others who may be interested.”
– Peter, Victoria 

“I’ve been a beekeeper for a few years now but when I did Daniel’s beekeeping course it opened up a completely new world to me. Daniel’s unconventional approach has been a blessing. I learnt so much about caring for bees. Daniel’s follow-up mentoring has taken away the stress I used to feel when having to do a hive inspection. His knowledge and complete calmness has had a flow on effect. I couldn’t recommend his involvement highly enough”.
– Anthea, Central Victoria

“Daniel’s knowledge of beekeeping made me realise that there’s more than just the basic knowledge on beekeeping, but sustainable beekeeping. He opened my eyes to more than just the basic idea of using bees to produce honey. He is very open about sharing his knowledge and thoughts for the present and the future of the bees and he is very passionate about creating a safe haven for bees to thrive. I highly recommend Daniel’s beekeeping course, as he is a very down to earth, genuine, direct beekeeper who knows his stuff. ”
– Randall, Daylesford, Victoria

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