Philip Chandler

Natural Beekeeping

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

The Theory and Practical Techniques for a Sustainable, Organic Approach to Cultivating Bee Colonies.

This four-part online beekeeping course is taught by Philip Chandler, author of 'The Barefoot Beekeeper' 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.

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.

Course outline

  • The Nature of Honeybees

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

  • Bees, Flowers and Natural Beekeeping

    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.

  • Starting with a Top Bar Hive

    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.

  • Establishing a healthy colony

    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.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Philip Chandler

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Philip Chandler
    • Certificate of completion
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Gardening classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Philip Chandler

Philip Chandler - Gardening

The Barefoot Beekeeper is an agent provocateur: he has challenged just about every long-held belief, technique and method practised by modern beekeepers.

Jean Vernon, The Telegraph
Hello I'm Philip Chandler. My early working life was spent mainly in printing, publishing, marketing and training.

I took up beekeeping at the turn of the century, having campaigned against GM crops for several years and concluding that bees were a lot more important than most people realized.

Conventional beekeeping seemed too mechanistic and bound up in Victorian attitudes towards nature, so I developed my own system based on top bar hives. A year spent working in commercial beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey convinced me that 'natural' beekeeping was the way to go.

In 2005 I was awarded Advanced Certification by the National Diploma of Beekeeping Board.

Having further developed my hive and techniques, I wrote The Barefoot Beekeeper in 2007 as a challenge to conventional beekeeping, and to put my case for reform.

Since then, around 10,000 people have bought my book and many of them have adopted top bar hives and natural beekeeping methods.

Nowadays I spend my time studying, teaching and writing. My aim is to teach others to observe for themselves and to learn from the bees, rather than from me.

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.

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