Emma Walters works with beekeepers to understand factors affecting honey bee health, with a focus on parasites, diseases, pesticides, and management practices. She is particularly interested in training beekeepers in methods that improve their colonies’ health. At Cornell University, she leads the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team and the Cornell University Master Beekeeping Program. Emma started beekeeping in 2011 in Ontario, Canada, and completed her Master’s degree investigating honey bee behavioral genetics at Western University in Canada.
Successful beekeepers understand how honey bees function, behave, and thrive. At its core, keeping honey bee colonies healthy and productive requires you to 1) recognize what you're seeing in the hive; 2) interpret what your observations mean; and 3) know how to respond to colony needs to support their success. In this course, we'll begin to explore the fundamentals of honey bee biology and beekeeping to get you into a position where you feel comfortable and confident in your own hives. We'll cover how to get started in beekeeping; how to support your colonies throughout the year; and how to identify and navigate scenarios like swarming, Varroa infestations, and queen issues. Whether you are brand new to bees or have a few years of experience, this course will enable you to build a strong foundation in beekeeping. You will discover how to apply the knowledge and hands-on techniques used by experienced beekeepers and Cornell experts to your own colonies.
This course fulfills the legal requirements of the State of New Jersey for beekeeper education per New Jersey Administrative Code Title 2, Chapter 24 §2:24-3.1(c)
This $450 course is instructor-led with start dates available throughout the year.
Benefits of taking the instructor-led course:
- Discussions facilitated by beekeeping experts
- Feedback about your annual beekeeping plan
- Office hours with facilitators
- Network with other beekeepers
- Access to course content after the course is concluded
If you are interested in taking the self-paced version, see more course information here.
Key Course Takeaways
- Recognize the colony members, stages of brood, and food in the hive.
- Explore honey bee biology and behavior.
- Identify your equipment needs and understand how to install your bees.
- Use your hive tool and smoker, and work bees gently.
- Discover how to inspect a colony.
- Understand colony biology and management throughout the year.
- Interpret brood patterns.
- Determine how to compare your colony observations to seasonal expectations.
- Identify when a colony looks healthy and when it needs additional management.
- Recognize and address queen situations, Varroa mites, diseases, and surprises.
- Explore how to manage colonies for honey production, harvest honey, and render beeswax.
- Understand how to winter colonies to maximize survival.
How It Works
Who Should Enroll
- Those who are brand new to beekeeping
- Those who have been keeping bees for a couple of years and are looking to strengthen their knowledge and skills