First of all, why are you taking beekeeping classes? what is the point of them? People take beekeeping classes to learn about the facts and details of bees and beekeeping. They learn about biology, behavior, and so much more.
Most of the things in beekeeping classes are best as lecture based classes. They are more for discussion and general presentation of information. There really is no need for live bees in a class. If demonstration is useful, any instructor has more than enough access to videos and photos to show you what it is that is est presented visually.
So a class can be taken really whenever, at any time of year and during any season. In regards to beekeeping, most classes historically, perhaps even to say traditionally, are offered in the Spring or in the very last weeks of Winter just before Spring to take advantage of when bees become active so as to have classroom days and field days be close so as to keep information fresh in new beekeeper’s minds.
That’s all well and good but in the final weeks leading up to Spring, beekeepers really ought to be focused on the hands-on parts to be best prepared for early Spring activities which will set the stage for a successful season. Time is best used on prep activities.
Late Fall and Getting into Winter is the best time for the classroom based learning of beekeeping. There are much fewer practical, hands-on demands of the beekeeper’s time and it’s much more pleasant and reinforces learning to sit in a warm classroom where you can focus on the information instead of being cold and ask questions and listen to the answers of the questions others have asked.
Because that’s the real value of taking a class. Being able to ask questions and hear what others ask and discuss. Otherwise, you might as swell just read a book. It’s the opportunity to interact and engage with an experienced instructor and pick their brain while you have the chance. Pick up on nuance and information that a book can’t easily communicate because of being there in person offers more information than just seeing words.
However, when do most people take classes, or even offer beekeeping classes for that matter? In the Spring, as always. That’s the tradition and when most people think about it, as they see the weather improve and they get excited by the prospects.
I will be offering the complete beekeeping course I have been teaching at MCC and other places this Winter at the Rescue and Teaching Apiary at Scatter Joy Acres in the Bee Barn to help those early birds get a headstart on learning so that they can get the most useful work done assembling equipment, setting up the apiary, and so on in the early Spring to be prepared.