Becoming a Beekeeper Class

Ever wondered how to become a beekeeper?

Join our free class and find out what you need to get started! No prior experience necessary, this course is designed to help anyone considering caring for their own bees.

We will explain the necessary tools, hive components, and safety gear. You will learn the difference between starting your colony with a bee package vs a nuc. And build up your understanding of what to expect throughout the beekeeping year. Finally, the most important thing to take away is where you can go for help when you don't know what to do. We scheduled this class before the holidays so you can treat yourself with the gift of bee supplies and a future hive!

Gilroy Beekeepers Association (GBA) has been supporting local hobby beekeepers and bringing those curious about bees together for over 20 years. Our members range from experienced beekeepers to complete newbies. Members benefit from regular meetings, access to great speakers and training opportunities like this one - the ideal combination for learning and sharing about beekeeping.

Class Was Held:
- Thursday, Oct 26, 7-8 PM:  Zoom
- Saturday, Oct 28, 9-11 AM:  Hands-On at GBA Apiary,

Cost:  FREE!

We will be covering:

Class Photos – Oct 26, 2023

We plan on offering similar classes over this winter and early spring. Please check our website for future classes. 


February Meetings

The February General Meeting and Board Meeting Zoom recordings are in the Members Only section here.

General Meeting

  • We had a great presentation by Harker School student Andrew Liang on his project “BeeWell: Developing an AI-based Bee Health Assessment System Utilizing Computer Vision and Acoustic Signal Processing”.
  • Also Arthur spoke on swarm control, and described the Demaree Method.
  • And questions and answers!

Board Meeting Notes

  • Previous minutes review.
  • Location for a honey extraction event.
  • Brief treasurer report. We currently have approx. $20,000 in the bank.
  • Discussion of renting a Porta-Potty for the Apiary vs. procuring a storage container.
  • The club has a lot of extra equipment that has been donated to us. We can make it available to members, and ask for a donation.
  • Blog post request.

Please see the Board Meeting Minutes for details.


General Meeting Summary, Jan 2024

General Meeting – 2 Jan 2024


  • Getting bees – packages and nucs
    • End of March.
    • Nuc requires a Langstroth hive.
    • Beginners: get Nucs not packages.
  • Start looking at equipment
    • Hives.
    • Hive types – Langstroth, Top Bar, etc.
    • Strongly consider 2 hives.
  • Time Commitment
    • Peak – once a week.
    • Otherwise every 2 weeks.
    • Initially, commit to 4-5 hours per month per hive.
  • Location
    • Away from traffic.
    • Don’t put in garden.
    • Not in shade.
    • Best in a less traveled area.
    • Entrance facing southeast to catch morning sun.
    • Solid, well secured hive stand.
    • Plenty of room to work around hives.
  • Feeding
    • Feed a new hive for the first month, or until they’re well established.
    • 1:1 sugar to water (by weight) is usually ok around here.
    • In hive feeders can cause a lot of bees to drown. Put some straw into the feeder.
  • Hive Architecture
    • Don’t add a second box until most frames are covered with bees.
    • Typically you use 1-2 deep boxes for the brood (the lowest boxes), then add mediums for honey supers.
    • Queen excluders
      • Optional. Not really necessary.
      • DO NOT use plastic excluders… use only metal excluders.
  • Questions
    • Penny: I have a hive that only has bees on 3-4 frames. Should I move them to Nuc box?
      • It’s difficult with current weather to find a day to make the transfer.
      • Better possible solution: remove extra honey frames, and use a follower board to effectively reduce the size of the nest area.
        • Put all the frames of bees on the sunniest side of the hive.
        • Leave one frame of honey.
        • Insert follower board.
    • Peggi
      • Mysterious condensation.
  • Working On Your Bees
    • Bees sting a lot on rainy or cloudy days.
  • Treating For Mites
    • Do a count with a sugar roll or alcohol wash. If the count is high, definitely treat.
    • Treatments for this time of year
      • Formic Pro can work, but use the longer protocol (use only 1 pad at a time)
  • Existing Hives
    • Do you see pollen coming in? This is a very positive sign.
    • Check food stores. Tipping the hive a bit is a good check.
    • Feeding is good. Pollen sub is good. Dry pollen sub may also work.
      • Pollen patties can attract hive beetles.
  • Stay ahead of possible issues.
    • If there are mites, treat.
    • If your hive needs room, add it.
    • Keep an eye on your bees, and give them what they need proactively.
  • Swarming
    • Difficult to prevent.
    • Give them proper room.
    • Swarming is not necessarily bad.
  • North American Honeybee Expo
  • Western Apiculture Society
    • Great, in depth articles and information about bees and beekeeping

Santa Cruz County Fair

Another Santa Cruz Fair is completed, and it was a HUGE success!  Our booth in the Bug Barn looked fantastic – lots of photographs of Club members, 2 observation hives, and a wealth of knowledge shared with the eager public. At one point on Saturday we had over 9000 visitors thru the exhibit!!
But the key to this success was our great volunteers. I would like to personally thank those who made this happen!
  • John Peck    
  • Mike Kurtz
  • Ed Massey
  • Diana Galvin
  • Andreas Olbring
  • Steve Mink
  • Bruce Morasca
  • Manuel Brum
  • Stephannie Elle
  • Arthur & Christine Kubogamell
  • Peggy Sullivan
  • Brian Lane
  • Clara Kim
  • Jaime & Zana Haskell
  • Mark & Katie Garrison
  • (and  20,000 bees in the observation hives ! )
Without the effort of these people promoting the art of beekeeping, expanding our Clubs footprint and passion for sharing knowledge, this event would not have been possible.
Again, a heartfelt thanks to ALL the volunteers for a great job!!
See you next year at the Fair!
Roark Diters 

Extraction Party

The June Extraction Party, courtesy of our generous host Peggi, was a big success. A lot of us have more summer honey to extract… Should we have another Extraction Party? Thanks to Bob Weseloh, we now have two additional extractors in addition to the club’s large extractor.

Please fill out the form below to let us know if you’re interested, and what dates work for you. Thanks!


Do you have frames to extract?(Required)