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APPRENTICESHIP

To secure your spot in our Apprenticeship:

Our apprenticeship is open enrollment based, so you may start any time there is availability (typically the first weekend of the month)

Due to the overwhelming popularity of our program, we now offer 2 cohorts: the first Saturday of the month (cohort #1), and now the first Sunday of the month (cohort #2).

You will remain in your cohort for the length of your apprenticeship (one weekend per month for 6 or 12 months).

Follow the steps below to book your spot. 

  1. Availabilities are marked in green on the calendar below. To select your cohort and starting date, click on the green date of your choice.

  2. Select 1 seat (people) to activate the option drop-down menu

  3. Select your preferred option (6 months, 12 months)

  4. Enter your contact information

  5. Enter your payment information

  6. If a green start date is not available this month, try another date later. 

If you need a monthly payment plan instead, email us at BeeMindfulHoneyFarms@gmail.com to get set up instead (a 5% administrative fee will be applied to all monthly payment plans).

For details about our program, see the full description below the calendar
Why choose the Bee Mindful Apprenticeship and not another apprenticeship?
  • Because UTSA College of Science chose OUR certificate based apprenticeship as their professional beekeeping training program of choice under the umbrella of a $2.9M USDA NextGen Grant, to provide workforce training for USDA career paths to underrepresented students from diverse and underserved communities!

  • That’s right, given the choice of apprenticeship programs, we were selected as THE most professional program to train the next generation of urban beekeepers: talk about a vote of confidence!

  • Also, take a look at the testimony student Edina TOTH wrote for us - she has flown in from New York several times to attend our Apprenticeship and Workshops and eloquently expressed her feedback about our programs!

What are the other EIGHT reasons that make our apprenticeship program the best of its kind?
  • REASON # 1: we are the only apprenticeship taught only by 2 certified Master Beekeepers with over 65 years combined experience keeping bees in many types of hives in various countries: authentic expertise matters!

  • REASON # 2: we are the only apprenticeship to offer a rolling enrollment throughout the entire year, so you may join anytime without having to wait 6 months or a year for the next session to start (as long as we are not sold out!) 

  • REASON # 3: our program is so popular we had to open a second cohort of 20 students to accommodate the demand (we now offer the program on Saturday AND Sunday once a month)
    REASON # 4: since it is impossible to get hands-on experience over the yearly lifecycle of a colony in a single 6-month program, we are the only apprenticeship to offer a $400 discount to apprentices who want to learn and get hands-on experience that covers the entire year of colony life cycle.

  • REASON # 5: with a combined expertise of over 60 years in Langstroth and 40 years in Top-Bar Hives, we are the only apprenticeship known to competently focus in-depth about horizontal frameless (top-bar) beekeeping (best for backyard/hobby beekeeping, and cheapest of all beekeeping by far), in addition to Langstroth/vertical beekeeping (best for commercial purposes) and others (Layens, Warre, etc). 

  • REASON # 6: we teach you how to keep your bees healthy as naturally and sustainably as possible through smart Integrated Pest Management (IPM), including 100% Natural practices, and how to avoid poor genetics and carefully select good bees to protect your investment and increase their chances of survival. Because with bees, you do get what you pay for!

  • REASON # 7: our apprenticeship goes much further than other programs (with our 12 month and advanced options) by teaching you how to monetize your beessustainably, efficiently and professionally - so you may turn your beekeeping into an income (or at least pay for your investment/addiction!)

  • REASON # 8: when joining our program, you also join our community, and benefit from our continuous support, a solid network of fellow apprentices & beekeeping friends, and our virtual resources (weekly chats, discussion forums, textbook&video library, and recorded presentations) during and long after you've completed the program. It's like having a permanent mentor, as we'll always be there to answer your questions.

We hope you join our family!

 

Our Teachers are Professional Educators and True Expert Beekeepers

All our classes are taught only by Master Beekeepers: biologist and world-renowned Master Beekeeper Les Crowder, and Master Beekeeper & Professional Educator Nathalie B.

  • Together, Les and Nathalie have over 65 years of beekeeping experience, from hobbyist/urban beekeeper all the way to commercial, with a unique focus on community outreach and developing a small business through sustainable beekeeping best practices. 

  • They have years of experience in Langstroth, Top-Bar Hives, Warre, Layens as well as many other types, and have managed thousands of colonies over their career.

  • They are also both professional educators at the corporate level and small business level, having taught several subjects to hundreds of students of all ages and backgrounds in different countries.

  • Les Crowder is the world-renowned author of "Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honey Bee Health". He is also a past President of the Hays County Beekeepers Association (HCBA) and the New Mexico Beekeepers Association, and a past Chief Apiary Inspector for the state of New Mexico.

  • Nathalie B. is the founder and past President of HCBA, in addition to being the host of the Natural Beekeeper Corner on the popular "The Hive Jive" podcast, and a former Director for the Texas Beekeepers Association and Chairman Of The Board for Real Texas Honey. She was hired by the Congolese government to design and lead their countrywide beekeeping training programs for trade school, and has set up apiaries and training for women refugees from the Congo and Nigeria, as well as the Community First! Village.

 

PROGRAM BASICS

This program is for everyone, from complete beginner to advanced beekeepers looking for more in-depth learning.

Through over 50hrs of hands-on workshops and live bee inspections per 6 month session, it focuses in depth on the following topics and more:

  • Honey bee and colony biology 

  • Pests and pathogens of the honey bee 

  • Integrated Pest Management 

  • Troubleshooting Sustainably and Naturally

  • Equipment assembling and use, tools and gear 

  • Nutrition and emergency feeding

  • How and Where to get good bees, not just any bees

  • Swarm trapping and catching 

  • Queen spotting and when not to do it (don't look for your queens every time!)

  • Splitting and building a sustainable apiary

  • Queen rearing for backyard purposes

  • Winterizing hives
    and much more.

 

Along with 4hrs or more in the hives per class (weather permitting), handling and learning how to work bees during the active bee season, each in-person meeting day will feature classroom education and/or mini workshops and how-to's, such as:

  • how to make and bait swarm traps

  • how to do mite counts, 

  • how to build and/or assemble Langstroth and Top-Bar Hives, 

  • how to assemble a solar wax melter and render bees wax, 

  • how to harvest, extract and bottle honey, 

  • how to harvest, box and market comb honey, 

  • how to make beeswax and propolis products,

  • how to easily prevent and fix cross combing

  • how to use a bee vac

  • how to do a simple cutout

  • basic queen rearing

  • brood diseases
    and much more.

We will even teach you to make your own Double Horizontal Frameless Hives for less than $50 in materials and 90 minutes with our free plans, and how to easily adapt from Langstroth to Top-Bar Hives, so you can save your back, and save over 80% on equipment and splurge on good bees!

 

PROGRAM DETAILS & LOGISTICS
Duration
  • 6 monthly credits (one Saturday a month for 6 consecutive months) starting at the registration month

  • 12 month option available at a $400 discount for those wanting to learn through the entire beekeeping season

  • companion discounts also available, so bring a spouse or a friend!

Maximum capacity 
  • 20 students per cohort, with a ratio of Student to Teacher of 10 or less in each cohort

Frequency
  • Once a month for a full day, the first weekend of the month (generally)

  • Students may register for this rolling program at ANY TIME during the year by choosing the starting month of their choice.

Format

The 6 months option includes over 50hrs of live classes and virtual workshops, with full-day in-person meetings every first Saturday of the month. Classes are mostly taught as a combination of

  • hands-on activities, demos and workshops

  • hands-on in different hive styles (not just Langs!)

  • professional presentations

  • exercises, readings and videos

The 12 months option offers twice as much learning, and more importantly covers a full year cycle of beekeeping activity, at a significant discount!

Our program is a balanced mix of theory and hands-on practice, with a focus on becoming a PROFICIENT a COMPETENT beekeeper: we will go in-depth and show you how you can be a successful beekeeper and/or make a living with beekeeping, from the backyard/urban model to a large sideliner, to basic concepts of commercial beekeeping and removals. 

Prerequisites & audience
  • No prerequisites needed.

  • Complete novices to advanced beekeepers are all welcome.

  • This course will benefit anyone serious about starting beekeeping with solid bases and improving their beekeeping skills.

  • The main benefits are increased competency and confidence, to help you become a proficient and independent beekeeper with increased success rate in keeping your bees alive.

Materials and Certificates
  • Students will have access to textbooks and workbooks, as well as a lending/virtual library of carefully curated beekeeping materials.

  • A Professional Training Completion Certificate from the Bee Mindful Academy will be issued upon completion, and official referrals will be provided as needed.

  • We may initially provide loaner suits for the hands-on activities in the beehives if you don’t have one for your first class, then you may buy a ventilated one from us during the program, or get your own.

The Teaching Apiary

The main Bee Mindful Teaching Apiaries are located in Driftwood, TX between Austin and Dripping Springs. 
Together, they feature an exhaustive and rich selection of hives, not found in most other apiaries:

  • Langstroth/Vertical/Commercial Hives

  • 19" Single and Double Top-Bar Hives

  • 17" Top-Bar Hives

  • Warre Hives

  • Layens/Horizontal Hives

  • Horizontal Langstroth Hives

  • Flow Hives (as supered in season)

  • Barrel Hives

  • AZ Hives
    and so much more!
    On occasions, we will visit a variety of additional bee yards in the area, as needed to deepen your learning.

Use the Calendar on the right to sign up!
  • Available start dates are highlighted in green

  • In-person work days are the FIRST Saturday of the month (cohort #1) or the FIRST Sunday of the month (cohort #2) unless specified otherwise

Available discounts:
  • The prices listed at checkout include a $400 discount on the 12 month option

  • An additional $300 discount is available for a companion seat for either option (for up to $700 in discounts). Companion seating is only for apprentices accompanying a full seat, but represent a significant discount.

  • NEW: a Monthly Payment Plans is now also available by request

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MAKE-UP CLASSES POLICY
  • For the 6-month apprenticeship, participants are allowed one makeup class, immediately at the end of the first 6 months.

  • For the 12-month apprenticeship, two makeup classes are permitted— one at the end of the first 6 months, and another at the end of the remaining 6 months.

  • Makeup classes need to be attended the month immediately after each of the initial last months within each 6-month block.

  • Regrettably, makeup classes are not allowed beyond this point, or after an extended absence of several months.

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TESTIMONIAL FROM EDINA TOTH, New York

 

Dear Nathalie and Les,

I hope this message finds you both in high spirits. I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for this great experience I had at your school.

The knowledge, wisdom, and passion you both shared have left an indelible mark on my journey as a beekeeper. Les, your book, "Top-Bar Beekeeping," served as a guiding light for me even before I embarked on this incredible adventure. Your extensive experience spanning over 50 years in the field of beekeeping is awe-inspiring, and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn directly from you. Your profound understanding of sustainable natural beekeeping practices and your commitment to the well-being of honeybees have truly inspired me.

Nathalie, your expertise and dedication to the craft of natural beekeeping added a beautiful dimension to the course. Your insights, practical tips, and unwavering support throughout the day were invaluable. Your passion for honeybees and your ability to impart knowledge with such enthusiasm were truly remarkable. I am grateful for the knowledge and skills you shared and the inspiration you provided.

Coming all the way from New York to Texas to learn from both of you was an invaluable journey that I will forever cherish. The hands-on experiences, the enlightening discussions, and the camaraderie among fellow beekeepers created an environment of growth and learning that surpassed my expectations. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for the transformative experience I had under your guidance. The knowledge, inspiration, and memories I gained during the course will stay with me throughout my beekeeping journey.

I am deeply thankful for the time and effort you both invested in creating such a meaningful and enriching learning experience. Once again, thank you, Les and Nathalie, for opening your hearts and sharing your expertise. You have not only imparted knowledge but have also empowered me to be a more responsible and compassionate bee-guardian. I am forever grateful for this incredible opportunity. Our world needs more Les and Nathalie. The knowledge I have gained is a treasure and pure gold.

Warmest regards,
Edina 

P.S. I cannot wait to come back to TX to learn more from both of YOU.  
"Les is more" 🐝.

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