Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is helping Texans explore beekeeping anytime through an online course – Beekeeping 101.

A close-up of a honey bee - beekeeping 101 will teach people how to manage honeybees
Beekeeping has increased as a popular hobby and a way to reduce property taxes on smaller tracts of land.

The four-hour online course for beginners will cover beekeeping basics, including how to start a beehive. Cost is $45.50 per person.

Participants will learn how to raise bees in their backyard and how much it costs to start beekeeping. The course will answer questions about honeybee biology, beekeeping equipment and suit options, and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping.

Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management program director, Bexar County, said the course includes video demonstrations, voice-overs and photos.

These resources are organized in five learning modules, with two to three lessons each, that participants may watch at their own pace.

“This Beekeeping 101 course is perfect for anyone interested in starting a worthwhile hobby that can last a lifetime,” Keck said.

The course teaches important beginner topics, including:

  • Recognizing the four stages of a honeybee’s lifecycle.
  • Describing the honeybee colony’s lifecycle and its goals throughout the year.
  • Considering different species of bees when choosing queens for their hives.
  • Identifying and acquiring beekeeping equipment.
  • Recognizing a good location to place a beehive.
  • Purchasing bees and properly installing packages or nucleus colonies.
  • Evaluating and performing needed maintenance tasks.
  • Recognizing and managing pests common to beehives.

Texas law made it possible for beekeeping to qualify for an ag valuation on property taxes, but rules vary by county. Texans who own 5-20 acres and are interested in raising bees may qualify for an ag exemption.

“Interest in beekeeping is on the rise because people want to help honeybees and to add bees for an ag tax exemption,” Keck said. “The online course is the result of eight years of learning what people want and putting it in a format that flows well for learning about beekeeping.”

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