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The specialist international beekeeping organisation

Sample lesson plans

MAKING A TOP BAR HIVE

At the end of the module the student will:

  1. Be able to construct a top bar hive from original materials
  2. Know that top bar hives can made of alternative materials that may be more easily or cheaply available locally
  3. Know how to install a top bar hive so it will be safe from pests especially ants
  4. Be able to choose a suitable place to install a top bar hive
  5. Know how to bait a top bar hive so it has the best chance of becoming colonised

Time allowed for section

Content of lesson

Resources needed

Notes

4 hours

Making a top bar hive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This section of the lesson/module is about constructing a top bar hive from timber and also from alternative materials such as rafia palm or bamboo

  1. Copies of the hive plans - one for each student to take home
  2. Cardboard or plastic template for the gable end design - plan to have one template per community or beekeeping group so they can be left behind after the lesson
  3. Knotted string is used to measure the hive length and left with community
  4. Hammer, saw, knife and tape measure etc
  5. Enough nails and bottle top 'washers' for one hive
  6. Enough raffia palm or sticks for 28 top bars (cut into suitable lengths for transporting easily). 20 - 22 of the top bars may be made in advance so that only a small number need to be constructed during the lesson.
  7. How to make a beehive booklet
  1. Organiser ensures there are enough photocopies of the plans for trainers to take
  2. Organiser to keep 1 or 2 templates in stock. Trainers to produce templates from cardboard or plastic in advance to take to lesson.
  3. Trainers to make sure they have string measure to show length and width of hive.
  4. Trainer to check how tools are to be made available. Tools borrowed from the organisation should be signed in and out. More than one set of tools will allow more people to participate individually in the hive making.
  5. Trainer to ensure everyone participates
  6. Organiser to ensure funds available for training materials required
  7. Booklet available free from g.marris@csl.gov.uk

1 hour

How to set up and bait a beehive

 

How to install the hive, how to to prevent ant invasion and how to bait hive, how to attract bees/colonise hives

  1. How to set up an apiary and install a hive pictures in (laminated) booklet
  2. Beeswax or beeswax candle for baiting and using on top bars
  3. Wire for installation if hive is to be kept by group
  4. Colonisation discussion
  1. Some training materials are available in Bees for Development resource boxes
  2. Depending on who paid for hive materials or funding agreement the constructed hives to be donated to the most vulnerable or sold to group/group member for cost of materials.

GETTING STARTED IN BEEKEEPING

At the end of the module the student will be able to:

Describe the advantages of keeping bees and something of the life of the bee.

Have seen the construction of a top bar hive and quote the correct size of a top bar

Have been shown low cost beekeeping equipment and know about suppliers.

Light a smoker and explain how to inspect a hive safely.

Be able to choose a suitable place to install, bait and protect a beehive so it has the best chance of becoming colonised

TIME

LESSON IS ABOUT

REMEMBER TO TAKE

NOTES

1 hour

Advantages of keeping bees Discuss who can be involved and how honey can be sold.

Life of the bee

Discuss available forage sources

Laminated pictures of bees and posters

Available from Bees for Development resource box 

1 hour

Show equipment and explain its use

Light smoker and tell about smoker fuel

Talk about safety

Low cost equipment especially veil

Show low cost smoker?

Smoker fuel and matches

 

Take veil

Take smoker fuel and matches

The students must be encouraged to light the smoker

The students should discuss the difficulties with bees and how they are overcome

1 hour

Showing a top bar hive and discuss other hive options including fixed comb hives.

Explain about the size of top bars and moveable combs

Make a template with the group

 Copies of the hive plans - one for each student to keep

 Cardboard to make template so it can be left behind after the lesson (Knotted string can be used to measure the hive length and left with community)

Bottle top for measuring top bars. Top bars (1 good; 1bad). Model hive

Organisation ensures there are enough photocopies of the plans for trainers to take

Organisation to keep 1 or 2 templates in stock

Trainers to produce templates from cardboard or plastic to take to the lesson

Trainers to make sure they have string measure

1 hour

Explain the work involved in honey and wax production. Discuss places to put hives, how to put them up, how to catch bees,

  Small piece of wax to show for bait. Honey to taste

 

A SHORT REPORT of the date of the training day, the name of the group and the numbers of people attending. Make a note of what techniques worked and what could be improved for next time.

Trainers collect training equipment and return after the lesson

Also needed

 

Notebook, ruler (measuring tape),knife, pen or marker.

 

HARVESTING HONEY AND WAX

At the end of the module the student will:

  1. Be able to describe ripe honey and explain how to harvest good quality honey.
  2. Be able to show to extract honey from the comb.
  3. Have seen honey harvested from a full hive if possible.
  4. Be able to describe good honey storage.
  5. Be able to melt wax using the bag method.
  6. Be able to clean wax fully using the straining method

TIME

LESSON IS ABOUT

REMEMBER TO TAKE

NOTES

1 hour

Harvesting honey

Explaining about ripe honey

Showing harvesting equipment and explaining its use

 

Reminding people about safety

Training manual

Harvesting equipment, Knife buckets etc,

 

Veil and bee suit

Smoker fuel and matches

The students should discuss the difficulties with harvesting and how they are overcome

 

Students should act out the whole procedure as a drama so the trainer can see if people have understood it

1 hour

Extracting honey from comb

STORAGE OF HONEY

Discussion of hygiene and hygiene breakdown points during harvesting

Harvested combs (or check if the students have some)

2 buckets

Cloth straining material

(if there is danger of bees stinging do this in theory only or in a bee proof place.)

You will need harvested combs to do this well

Explain about RIPE HONEY again

Explain how to keep the bees from getting into the honey during harvesting and extraction.

Explain principles of good storage

1 hour

Harvesting wax using bag method

Wax combs for extracting wax

Small sack

Wax mould -optional  (plastic)

 

You will also need a fire, an old pot, two sticks

There are lots of methods - decide which you will do.

Remember to keep white comb and dark comb separate for best results.

1 hour

Second wax cleaning

Dirty wax

Soap, plastic bowl for a mould

Cloth straining material

You will also need a fire, a small pot and a bigger pot for the water bath

REMEMBER WAX BURNS EASILY

1 hour

Supervising the harvest of honey from one hive if possible - this should be done in the evening or when it is cool.

A SHORT REPORT of the date of the training day, the name of the group and the numbers of people attending. Make a note of what techniques worked and what could be improved for next time.

Trainers may need to collect training equipment and return after the lesson. Decide who will be responsible for providing what is needed.

 

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