Natural Beekeeping for Gardeners


How to Keep Bees Course

£120 / $192

A guide to the art of natural beekeeping – suitable for all abilities.

Hello. My name is Philip Chandler. This four-part online beekeeping course is an introduction to what has become known as ‘natural beekeeping’, which differs in some important respects from the conventional approach to this subject. Our focus will be on keeping bees for their own sake, rather than simply for the products of their labour. Of course, we also appreciate what they do for us and if there is a surplus of honey, we will be pleased to have some for ourselves.

If you are already a keen gardener, you may have considered the idea of having a beehive or two in your garden, but been put off by the cost and complications of conventional beekeeping equipment. In this course, I will show you how keeping bees can be much easier than some would have you believe, while costing much less than you think – especially if you can do simple woodwork yourself.

Beekeeping has recently become popular again, after many years in decline. A significant part of this resurgence has been generated by a growing interest in the idea of ‘natural beekeeping’, which puts the emphasis on keeping bees for their own sake, rather than merely as a means for honey production.

How to Keep Bees?

Much of the impetus for this new form of beekeeping came from the publication in 2007 of The Barefoot Beekeeper, now in its third edition. This book set out to challenge the 150-year domination of beekeeping by commercial considerations, and asked people to look again at their relationship with the honeybee with nature – rather than profit – in mind.

This course is presented by Philip Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper, who now spends most of his time teaching and writing about natural beekeeping.

Learning Outcome By the end of this course, you will have a greater understanding of the role of bees in their natural world and in the context of human agriculture. You will understand the design, construction and use of a Top Bar Hive, and have a theoretical knowledge of the lifecycle of honeybees and the ways in which we can supervise and nurture them on a small scale.

A revolutionary course about sustainable, chemical-free, ‘natural’ beekeeping, with no heavy lifting. The tutor strips away all complications, showing how you can make everything you need yourself, using recycled materials and simple tools

Below is a teaser video – giving you a taste of lectures to come on the course

Click Here For More About How it all Works – including what you get in MyClassroom, Your Contact with The World’s top tutors and More

This course qualifies you for two approved continuing education credits (CEUs) with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

What's in the course?
  • Weekly video tutorials that you can access whenever you want
  • Optional critiqued assignments so you can practice as you learn
  • Personal feedback from your tutor
  • Membership of MyClassroom – our virtual classrooms where you can meet your fellow students
  • Course ebook
  • Course completion certificate
  • Badge for your own website or blog

Lesson 1  Before considering 'keeping' bees, we take a look at their world, their lifecycle and how we can work with them to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship. 

Lesson 2  We consider the relationship between bees and flowering plants and their importance for pollination. We will also look at the type of beehives recommended for 'natural beekeeping', and consider ways in which you can take sensible precautions when locating hives and handling bees.

Lesson 3  We will examine how a top bar beehive works, and how best to use it to supervise bees, while minimizing our interference in their lives. We will also consider how to obtain bees and persuade them to live in the hives we provide them.

Lesson 4  Having introduced bees to their new home, we look at hive management and how to provide optimum conditions in which they can thrive, while learning as much as possible about their natural behaviour with a view to improving our understanding of them.

Note to Students  Learning about beekeeping from books or distance learning can give us a broad understanding of their nature and behaviour, but of course there is a need to deepen that theoretical knowledge by practical, hands-on bee-handling.

Many local beekeepers' associations provide open sessions for beginners to experience bees at first hand, and may also provide training courses. These tend to focus on the conventional, commercially-derived approach to beekeeping, and while attitudes are beginning to change in some places, you are unlikely to find a great deal of sympathy for top bar hives or natural beekeeping.

The course tutor runs day and weekend courses throughout the summer, and students are invited to attend one of these events if possible. You will find such events listed at

Booking a Place

 MyGardenSchool Gardening Courses Start on the First Saturday of Every Month.  You can book your course up to two months in advance

Your tutor will make their video lectures available to you each Saturday morning for four weeks, and will support you throughout the course. Book now to secure a place!



The four weeks of the cutting garden course passed quickly. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. The assignments did well reflect the objectives of the course and the…


Growing cut flowers.  Many thanks Charlie for making my first gardening course so stimulating and enjoyable and thanks to my classmates for their advice and comments.

Liz Richardson

Thank you Andy for your feedback. I have thoroughly enjoyed this trees course and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to doing the next one

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