If you've ever fancied fresh honey from your own beehive but don't know where to start, a new course being run in Levin can give you all the buzz on beekeeping.
The course, designed for beginners, is being run by experienced apiarist Frances Beech and will cover the intricacies and requirements of beekeeping, which are more stringent than many may realise.
The course will be run over five sessions of two hours each and will cover fundamental beekeeping, including the life cycle of bees, the different jobs bees have in the hive and how to identify each type and stage of development among bees.
Beech said it would also teach students how to manipulate a hive to get the best from their bees and how to extract honey and process wax.
"Not every one can keep bees," Beech said. "Like a dog or cat they like some people and dislike others."
She said people also needed to be mindful that beekeeping was not cheap to set up and that it's important to be mindful of neighbours who might be allergic or children being stung if you choose to keep bees on your property.
"My course is the theory of beekeeping for basic beginners - what you should know before you start," she said.
"I take 10 to 12 students at a time to give a good chance of answering questions [and] I also show how to build your hive, where to obtain the woodware and protective clothing."
Beekeepers also have to learn about legislative requirements for the activity.
"Beekeeping is a legislated occupation. All beekeepers regardless of how many hives must be registered," Beech said.
"All apiaries must be registered and only approved chemicals can be put in hives for the treatment of the mite Varroa. Honey taken from a hive after the 31st of December must be tested for [plant toxin] tutin and all bees must be kept in removable framed hives."
Beech has 20 years of beekeeping experience under her belt and has been teaching the basics for 15 years.
She has also spent a decade working as a disease recognition tutor for the National Beekeepers Association and in American Foulbrood pest management strategy.
The course will start on Monday 1 July from 7pm to 9pm at Thompson House, 4 Kent Street, Levin and costs $120.
Registrations are being taken now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org