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Commercial Beekeeping Program

Are you a leader? Do you want to make a difference? Do you like working outdoors? Then Commercial Beekeeping could "bee" for you!

Program Highlights

  • Program Designed to Startup and Manage a 300-Colony Commercial Beekeeping Operation
  • Students Apply their Skills on the University’s 300-Colony Beekeeping Farm
  • Students Observe Honeybee Centre’s Daily Operations, which includes placing 6,000 colonies into Blueberry Farms during the month of May
  • Program Takes a Holistic Approach to Farming that consists of Prioritizing Hive Health, Studying Business Management, Apitherapy, Value-Added Products, and Practicing Farm Trades such as carpentry, welding, and fabrication.
  • Program Takes an Environmentally Sustainable approach to Beehive Management and Farming that Includes Respect for Bees and Farm Animals, Appreciation for Food Security, Food Quality, and the Option of Non-chemical Beekeeping.

bee coloniesThe KPU Commercial Beekeeping program is designed to prepare you to start and operate your own 300-colony beekeeping business that focuses on pollination services to fruit growers and specialty honey production.  Graduates of the program will have the knowledge and skills to support a family through beekeeping.

The program runs from the first week of February to the third week of November and includes the option of a paid practicum working for a commercial beekeeper during the summer months.

Commercial beekeeping is about managing a farm-based business.  To prepare students for a career in bee farming, the program includes all aspects of beehive management and honey processing.  It includes how to start a business, how to finance it, and how to manage day to day operations such as bookkeeping, accounting, banking, and sales.  The program also includes farm trades; basic carpentry, farm welding, forklift certification, first aid training, and small engine operation and maintenance.

 

Beekeepers At WorkThe program also teaches non-traditional beekeeping revenue opportunities that include the business of bee livestock production, bee pollen processing, propolis processing, nest removals, and urban host-a-hive.  It includes Apitherapy (healing with honey and bee products) and creating value-added products such as tinctures, ointments, skin care products, cosmetics, candle mold making, and mead making.

This career training is a non-credit university program.

Classes are held at KPU Tech each morning from 9 am to lunch.  Each afternoon from 1pm to 4:30 pm, students are either in the workshop at Honeybee Centre or working with bees in the field.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the Student Application form on this website.
  • This program is taught in English.  Student should have sufficient English reading, writing, speaking and comprehension abilities to participate in the course.  Note: for the practicum work term, placements are available in English, Spanish, and Tagalog.
  • Full boxes of honey can weigh up to 40kg (88 lbs.).  Students should have a strong back and hands and be physically capable of lifting this weight.  Students unable to do so may complete the program, but may not be able to find a summer practicum placement.
  • Students should not be afraid of bees or be allergic to bee venom.
  • Students are required to obtain their own transportation to classes and from KPU Tech to Honeybee Centre for shop and field work.
Beekeepers At Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courses

Session 1 – Feb to middle of May

BEES 9000

Bee Biology

Origin, castes, morphology, life cycles, metamorphosis, the nest as a superorganism, worker duties, winter bees, foraging, flight ranges, communication, dances, and pheromones.

BEES 9002

Plant Biology

Plant structure, history of plant/bee relationship, plant identification, food crop identification, seasonal nectar flows, pollen quality, poisonous plants, urban plants, the effect of droughts and excessive rain.

BEES 9004

Beekeeping Equipment

Hive components, suit & tools, hive types, frame types, foundation cell sizes, bee escapes, pollen traps, propolis traps, box press, box tipper, pallet styles, painting vs hot wax dipping, bee trucks, trailers, forklifts, cranes, transport nets, processing equipment – honey, wax, pollen, propolis, bottling equipment – jars, labels, safety seals.

BEES 9010

Spring Management

Getting started, purchasing bees & equipment, basic colony exam, preventing back injury, selecting apiary locations, apiary layout, package bees, the queen, swarming, supercedure, drone layers, laying workers, uniting colonies, equalizing, making increases.

BEES 9012

Summer Management

Single vs double brood systems, two-queen colonies, queen rearing, banking queens, marking queens, queen introduction, preparing bees for pollination, transporting bees, Supering, drawing foundation, chasing specialty honey, dearths, pollen and propolis collection and processing.

BEES 9014

Fall Management

Honey harvest, robbing, culling weak colonies, fall feeding, Varroa control, honey house design, extracting honey, facility and personal hygiene, properties of honey, heating, storage, creaming honey, bottling, de-crystallizing, removing honey from beeswax, processing beeswax.

BEES 9016 Winter Management

Planning for next season, ordering equipment and supplies, equipment repairs – boxes, lids, bottom boards, pallets.  Equipment assembly and painting or hot wax dipping.  Equipment maintenance – small engines, vehicles, honey processing equipment.  Building maintenance and repair.  Varroa oxalic acid dribble vs oxalic acid fumigation.  International beekeeping opportunities – Africa, Asia, Central America.

BEES 9020

Bee Diseases and Pests

Varroa, AFB, EFB, Viruses, Nosema, Chalkbrood, bears, skunks, SHB, wax moth, rodents, ants.  Grower sprays, neonicotinoids, monocultures, climate change, problem neighbors.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

BEES 9030

Trades

Basic carpentry – assemble boxes, manufacture lids, bee escapes.  Farm welding – manufacture box press, box tipper.  Small engine operation and maintenance – grass trimmer, leaf blower, chain saw.  First aid certification.  Forklift operation and safety certification.

BEES 9040

Basic Business

Starting a business, incorporating, CRA business number, chart of accounts, and bookkeeping, invoicing, recording expenses.  Expenses vs expenditures, expenses vs cost of goods sold.  Payroll, source deductions, WCB, GST, PST, corporate income tax.  QuickBooks tutorial with certification, beekeeping insurance, legal issues, Excel & MS Word tutorial.

BEES 9042

Beekeeping Business Planning

Bee management plan, pro-forma income statement, balance sheet, capital budget, cash flow budget, margins, key performance indicators.  Business of pollination – contracts, negotiations, colony placement.  Business of livestock production – queens, nucs, full colonies.  Business of bee pollen, propolis, and wax production and processing.  Business of nest removals, host-a-hive, servicing other beekeepers.  Beekeeping software, bar codes, hive sensors, hive RFID tracking.

Summer Practicum – Middle of May to third week of September

BEES 9050 Paid Practicum (optional)

Paid practicum employment with a commercial beekeeper (mostly Alberta locations).

BEES 9052 Unpaid Practicum (optional)

Unpaid practicum, one day per week working with an instructor, on the 300 colonies that KPU operates.

Fall Semester – October to third week of November

BEES 9060

Advanced Business

Creating a business plan for investors and for bank financing.  Developing detailed pro-forma income statement, internal analysis, and external analysis.  Creating a marketing plan, financing options, business valuation, and exit strategy.  Understanding KPI’s, debt comfort, and debt planning.

BEES 9062

Advanced Beekeeping Business

Creating a product line, branding, label design, brochures, and sales channels.  CFIA requirements – labelling, packaging, honey grades, exporting, and importing.  Bar coding products, wholesale sales vs farm gate.  Government programs and grants – Agriinvest, AgriStability, crop insurance.  Government research grants – NRC, IRAP, and Alberta Innovates.  Operating a bee venom clinic.

BEES 9070

Apitherapy

Healing people and animals with honey and other bee products, bee nutraceuticals.  Bee venom therapy – colony preparation, sting protocols, safety.  Internal formulations – propolis tinctures, capsule making, apilarnil.   External formulations – healing ointments, skin care, cosmetics.  Aromatherapy, respiratory treatment with hive air inhalation.

BEES 9080

Value-Added Products

Candle mold manufacture, beeswax candle production, mead making seminar, using beeswax and propolis in carpentry and home care.

BEES 9090

Field Trip – Alberta

10-day field trip through Alberta visiting commercial bee operations of various sizes from 2,000 colonies to 24,000 colonies.  Attending Canada’s largest beekeeping convention: three-day AGM for the Alberta Beekeeper’s Commission.

Grading

Beekeeping

The KPU Commercial Beekeeping Program is non-credit and will be graded based on Mastery/Non-mastery.

This program demands a clearly defined high standard of performance, in which the student must demonstrate mastery of all knowledge and/or performance requirements.  Because of the nature of this grading system, credits earned will not be used in calculating a grade point average.

MAS = Master.  Student has mastered a clearly defined body of skills and performance to required standards.  For this program, Mastery is achieved with 65% overall average on written exams and a pass (50%) on trades.Beekeeping

NCG = No credit granted.  Student has not met the required standard for the course and/or has not participated to the required level in learning activities.

Upon successfully achieving mastery in a course, students will be awarded a “Recognition of Achievement” document.  MAS or NCG will be applied to the student’s transcript.

 

Course Dates and Reading Breaks

Program Year

Year 2019

Year 2020

Year 2021

Session 1

Feb 4 to May 17

Feb 3 to May 15

Feb 1 to May 14

Reading Break

Mar 23 to Mar 31

Mar 21 to Mar 29

Mar 20 to Mar 28

Session 2 Practicum

May 20 to Sept 20

May 18 to Sep 25

May 17 to Sep 24

Session 3

Sept 30 to Nov 22

Oct 5 to Nov 20

Oct 4 to Nov 19

Field Trip

Oct 28 to Nov 8

Oct 26 to Nov 6

Oct 25 to Nov 5

 

Beekeeping StudentsTuition

Domestic Students - $11,900 plus GST = $12,589.50

International Students - $17,499 plus GST = $18,373.95

 

 

Registration

To register for this program:

  1. Fill out the application on this website.
  2. Register and pay your non-refundable $1,000 commitment fee online (click on ‘Register Now’ link below).  Note: International students should follow step 1 above and then wait for instructions from KPU International prior to registering.

All registered persons will be contacted by KPU to confirm registration and to arrange for the balance of fees.

Beekeeping Students

register now button

Potential Scholarships:

 

International Students

Beekeeping Students

The KPU Commercial Beekeeping program is open to applications from international students.  Interested applicants are invited to apply by filling out the student application on this website.  Eligible applicants will be contacted by the Office of International Recruitment and Admissions. 

Since the KPU Commercial Beekeeping program is a non-credentialed program, international students are not eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).

 

Program Sponsors:
Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC                Western Economic Diversification Canada                 Project Apis M

 

This program is offered in partnership with the Honeybee Centre:

Honeybee Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 Photo Gallery