If you have ever contemplated taking up beekeeping, either as a hobby or as a career, there might be no better time.

Community Education Wanganui is holding a beekeeping course starting tonight from 7pm to 9pm and continuing for eight weeks.

The education service has run the course successfully for the past two years and enlists professional apiarists John and Janice Brandon to provide the training.

The Brandons operate Canaan Honey on Mosston Rd, which has been in business for 36 years.


"People who go into beekeeping need to know quite a lot, it's not just about hands-on experiences, but there's a lot of technical knowledge required as well," John Brandon said.

"They will learn about a lot of the biological aspects of the honey bee, because essentially everything we do has to work in with the natural life cycle of the bee."

Throughout the sessions trainees will watch videos depicting the inner workings of a beehive, learn how to check for diseases and discuss the different management required per season.

"One evening is completely dedicated to the queen bee and how important she is to the colony," Brandon said.

"We look at different ways of how you change the queen in a colony, replacing the old queen with a new queen and that sort of thing."

Brandon started out as a hobbyist with two hives, but has dedicated the past 36 years to commercial beekeeping.

He said that it is a serious matter to have a beehive.

"These days it's quite an investment to have a beehive, to purchase bees, equipment and the protective gear you have to wear.

"While the course will mostly be instruction and discussion, we'll do a little bit of hands-on assembly of materials and they'll learn how to make their own equipment."

Brandon said that the most recent season had not been very good and that is something they warn the trainees about.

"You can do everything right looking after a beehive, but the actual crop of honey will then depend on the season - how the conditions are out on the land and the weather.

"We're hoping for a good summer this year, I encourage people to come to the course, if they're interested in taking up beekeeping as a hobby, it's a course well suited to them."