FAQ- General Class Questions
Do I have to purchase class tickets in advance?
Tickets must be purchased in advance, as each class has a limited capacity and classes often sell out quickly. To ensure you get the class you prefer, we recommend booking well in advance.
Are classes held in bad weather?
Classes are only held in good weather. Temperatures need to be appropriate and no rain or heavy winds. About half of the class time is spent inside the classroom. However, bees do not like rain or extreme cold, and opening a hive in such conditions can be damaging. In the event the class is cancelled due to weather, students will be allowed to reschedule to another class (subject to availability) or receive a credit for a future class.
Are there any age restrictions for your classes?
Ages 10 and up are welcome to participate, but children younger than 10 are not allowed. Any children 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Please note that all children, regardless of age, need a paid ticket.
Can I get stung during a class? What if I'm allergic to bee stings?
It has RARELY happened, but it is possible for participants to be stung during class. Please note that about half of the class is spent outdoors in the apiary. While outdoors, you will be equipped with a full bee suit. However, if you know that you or someone in your group is allergic to bee stings, we ask that you let us know when purchasing your tickets. As long as we know in advance, we can usually accommodate the student's needs by having them stand further away from the hives than others. It is your responsibility to be prepared, so we encourage you to bring an Epi-pen prescribed by your doctor as we do not have one available.
Do classes take place indoors or outdoors?
About half the class is spent in the indoor classroom. The other half is spent in our outdoor apiary.
How should I dress for the class?
For everyone's safety, all students are required to follow our dress code in order to participate. Regardless of weather, students must wear long pants (we recommend blue jeans), a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt, as well as socks and boots that cover your ankles. Clothing should be white or light in color. DO NOT WEAR BLACK. Wearing a hat or bandana is also recommended. Long hair needs to be put up and NO PERFUME. Scented soaps, hair & body products, perfume, and cologne will attract bees and increase your chances of being stung. Participants that are not dressed appropriately will not be allowed to participate in class for their own safety as well as the safety of others.
Are there any physical requirements?
Participants must be able to lift 15 pounds. Also, please keep in mind that approximately half of the class will be spent on your feet, standing outside in our apiary.
What should I bring with me to class? Do I need anything?
Everything you need for class will be provided on site. However, before class can begin, all participants are required to sign a Participant Agreement before class begins (this will be provided at the beginning of class). In addition, we encourage you to bring a bottle of water, as it can get warm and stuffy in those bee suits, especially on a hot day, and a small snack.
Are there bathrooms available during class?
We have a bathroom on site, available for student use.
Are classes handicap accessible?
Unfortunately, at this time, our class is not handicap accessible.
Can I bring my pet to a class?
Although we love animals, we ask that you leave your animal at home.
Is this class only for beginners? Does it offer anything for an experienced beekeeper?
This class is mostly designed to introduce people to beekeeping (we offer advanced classes as well). However, it can always offer something for someone who is experienced. Please contact us with any specific question you may have.
Are private classes available?
Yes, please contact us to inquire about a private class or holding a private event with SF Honey & Pollen Co.
Are gift certificates available?
Yes, please contact us to inquire about gift certificates.
Are your products available for sale?
Yes, all of our products are currently available for sale at various San Francisco retail locations, please visit our Products Page to view a full list. Our products are also available for purchase during each Beekeeping Class. If you are interested in purchasing any of our products directly, or if you are a retailer and would like to sell our products, please contact us for more info.
FAQ- General Beekeeping Questions
How do I know if beekeeping is for me?
Do you love nature, the outdoors, and animals? If you answered yes, beekeeping could be an excellent hobby for you. All you need is the time, patience, materials & equipment, and basic beekeeping knowledge to get yourself started.
How much does it cost to start beekeeping?
We estimate that start-up costs are around $500-$800. This should get you a hive and colony (hives are the homes, made in an a-frame style, consisting of a screened bottom board, two brood boxes, one queen excluder, two honey boxes, and an inner & outer cover for the bees; and the colonies are the bees themselves), as well as protective gear (a bee suit), and the tools needed for beekeeping.
Where do you get bees? Do you have to buy them too?
Yes, you have to buy your own bees. These should be available through your local beekeeping society/club. For approximately $125 you can purchase a mated queen bee and a package of about 10,000 worker bees. The bees will come in a wooden box, with the queen in a separate cage hanging inside. The door of her cage will be plugged with candy. First, you'll place the workers in the hive; next, you'll take out the queen’s cage, place it in the hive, and close it all up. It'll take a few days for the workers to chew through the candy. During this time, they will become accustomed to the queen's pheromones. By the time she is released, she will have become their queen. She starts laying eggs, the workers start working, and before you know it, you’ve got a functioning hive.
What do I need to know to get started?
Starting a new hive will take some research and preparation to get ready. New hives should only be started in early spring. Buying yourself a good book, such as, Beekeeping for Dummies, and reading it before you get started is highly recommended. We also suggest, taking one of our Beginner Beekeeping Classes, this will teach you everything you need to know to start a hive.
How much room do you need to keep bees? Where do I put them?
You don’t need much room at all. A small, sunny backyard or garden area will suffice. If you don't have flowers or plants nearby, don't worry. Bees from a single hive will forage an area over 2 square miles. They also collect pollen and nectar from all sorts of growing things from weeds all the way up to trees.
How much work is involved in beekeeping?
Not a lot. During the busiest times of the year, under normal circumstances, you'll need approximately an hour per week. Like any hobby, you can put as much time into it as you want, depending on what you want out of it and what you are willing to put into it. Start slow, with only one or two hives your first year, and work your way up from there.