Keeping healthy and productive colonies of bees requires an understanding of honeybee biology and behavior. The best beekeepers use this knowledge to develop management that fits the seasonal changes in the environment. The natural dynamics or cycles in population require familiarity with nectar and pollen plants, as queens lay more eggs during nectar flows. In western Massachusetts, this happens mid-May through June and again in August and early September. The beekeeper can use this information to stimulate larger worker bee populations, make new colonies, and raise queens. Management that works with, rather than against, the honeybees’ natural behaviors starts with learning the basics of beekeeping.

At Warm Colors Apiary, we have offered introductory and advanced classes since 2000. Our mission is to teach management proven to work. We participate in research, testing of new products, and continue to revise our beekeeping as we discover new methods for keeping bees healthy. Typical programs include a lecture, handouts, and hands on activities in the WCA bee yard.

(You can also register online for these classes, using links below)

Beginning in Beekeeping (Three sessions)

This is a three-session class for new beekeepers. We focus on the basic tasks used in managing a 1st year honeybee colony. Session one reviews biology & behavior, Session two covers seasonal management, and the third session demonstrates installation of bees into the hive, and introducing the queen. Includes textbook, handouts and 7.5 hrs of instruction.

Fee $175.00

  • Session #1 – Sunday March 25th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM “Biology & Behavior”.
  • Session #2 – Sunday April 8th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM “Seasonal Management”.
  • Session #3 – Saturday April 29th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM “Care & Feeding of your new Colony”. This date may change. We schedule this class with the arrival of the package bees – bee pickup schedule may change.

Register Online for 2018 Beginnning Beekeeping

Spring Management, Sunday May 6th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM

A review of spring tasks, including hive evaluation, feeding and prevention of disease. Honey production, swarm prevention and early activities commonly performed during spring and summer. Bring protective clothing for bee yard demonstrations. Handouts included.

Fee $45.00

Register Online for 2018 Spring Management Workshop


Queen Rearing for Small Apiaries – Larry Connor PhD. Friday June 1st 12 noon-5PM, Saturday June 2nd 10AM -5PM, and Sunday June 3rd, 2018 10AM – 3PM.

This is a complete class in how to raise queens. Warm Colors will for the second time host Dr. Lawrence Connor as he explains queen biology, different methods for raising queens, and walks participants through the step by step process in the bee yard. This is a three day event with each day beginning with lectures, discussion, and followed by hands on practice in the Warm Colors queen rearing apiary. Appropriate for backyard beekeepers interested in producing a few queens, and sideliners needing dozens of queens. Participants will have the opportunity to setup starter and finisher colonies, select breeder queens, practice grafting, and queen evaluation in the apiary.

Larry Connor was born in Kalamazoo and graduated from Richland High School in 1963. He earned three degrees in entomology from Michigan State University and was hired as Extension Entomologist in Apiculture at The Ohio State University in 1972. In 1976 he was hired by Chuck Dadant of Dadant and Sons to run a new bee breeding program located in Labelle, Florida. Called Genetic Systems, Inc. this firm had two missions: to produce breeder queens for the Starline and Midnite hybrid bee programs (established by Dr. G.H. “Bud” Cale, Jr), and to mass produce instrumentally inseminated three-line hybrid bees called the Cale 876 Hybrid.
Connor left Florida late 1980 and lived in Cheshire and New Haven, Connecticut. In 2007, due to pressure of travel, he relocated to Kalamazoo and continues to write books and publish for Wicwas Press as well serve as a monthly columnist for Bee Culture Magazine and the American Bee Journal.

In huge demand on the beekeeping speaking circuit, Connor travels widely to speak at beekeeper meetings. He also conducts workshops on queen rearing and bee breeding, honey bee microscopy and related topics. Since childhood Connor has a strong interest in photography. He continues to expand his collection of images of bees, beekeepers and bee flora.

Dr. Lawrence Connor Lifetime Achievement Award
The close of the Heartland Apicultural Society’s 2015 meeting in Albion, Michigan came with a pleasant surprise for keynote speaker and lifelong advocate of sustainable beekeeping, Dr. Lawrence John Connor of Wicwas Press LLC. HAS event organizer Rich Wieski took the stage with Dr. Connor in order to present the speaker with a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of both the Michigan Beekeepers Association and the Heartland Apicultural Society.
Born and raised in Kalamazoo County, Dr. Connor has been attending to and learning from bees from a young age. Earning his PhD in Entomology from Michigan State University, Dr. Connor’s career has taken him throughout the United States and internationally to educate new and experienced beekeepers of all ages on contemporary, practical and thoughtful beekeeping practices for the betterment of themselves, their communities and their bees.
The Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Dr. Connor cites his work in mentoring the next generation of queen breeders, acknowledging the top-tier instructional workshops Dr. Connor provides for bee groups across the globe, the articles he writes for the industry trade magazines American Bee Journal and Bee Culture and the numerous books he continues to author and publish as senior partner at Wicwas Press LLC, Dr. Connor’s publishing company that specializes in educational books on many subjects vital to good beekeeping practices.

Fee $350.00

Register Online for 3-day Queen Rearing class with Dr. Larry Connor


Keeping Healthy Hives: Mites, Disease, Prevention & Control (Sunday July 8th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM)

We will cover the common threats to honeybee colonies, the importance of nutrition, and the latest thinking on prevention and treatment. This is for beekeepers at all levels of experience. The program is updated each year to reflect the latest research and most recent recommendations for testing and treatment of Varroa mites, Nosema and viruses. Handout included. Bee yard demonstrations – bring protective clothing.

Fee $50.00

Register Online for Keeping Healthy Hives: Mite Prevention/Control

Fall Management (Sunday August 19th, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 PM)

The final exam for beekeepers is preparing hives for winter. This begins in early fall when there is still time to correct problems. Queen evaluation, feeding and winter food reserves, lack of mites and disease will be explained. Wrapping & insulating hives, location, and equipment will be discussed. Bring protective clothing for bee yard. Handout included.

Fee $45.00

Register Online for Fall Management


Warm Colors 16th Annual Honey Festival (Saturday September 15th, 2018 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)

Join us for our annual celebration of honeybees & beekeeping. Activities include honey tasting, mead tasting, honey ice cream cones, and presentations each hour. See schedule on our “Home page”. The event is free and open to everyone with an interest in beekeeping. Free $0

Call several days before workshops and listen to our phone message to confirm weather conditions have not caused a postponement. Call Warm Colors Apiary at 413-665-4513.