The Heart of Illinois Beekeepers Association will host a beginning beekeeping class on Jan. 26 that will focus on getting new beekeepers ready for the spring.

The class will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at United Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 2400 W. Northmoor Road, Peoria. Its purpose will be to give the person thinking about taking up the hobby the confidence and necessary knowledge to begin their beekeeping journey when the warm weather starts back up, according to Sean Rennau, Heart of Illinois Beekeepers Association president.

“The class is an effort to give people who know nothing about beekeeping information from people who have been doing it for many years,” Rennau said. “It can also help people who have been doing it for a while, because there’s always something new to be learned. It’s an exciting hobby, and it’s fun. But it can also be a complicated venture.”

Aspiring beekeepers will have an opportunity to learn through instruction from Association members, videos, written material and hands-on demonstrations. Class topics will include honey bee biology, basics of the hive, inspecting and managing hives, and common beekeeping challenges. Students will also receive instruction on equipment a beginning beekeeper will need, where to buy it, and where to obtain bees.

“If you’re a nature lover, you’re really going to enjoy the class,” said Rennau. “Beekeeping is fascinating, because there’s so much to learn from a bee. There are many intricate processes that go on in the day-to day life of a hive. A big benefit of beekeeping is obviously the honey, which you can either sell or keep for yourself. Honey has many health benefits. Local honey can help your body build up immunities against allergies to things like pollen and ragweed.”

Common challenges beginning beekeepers can expect to face will be sudden changes in weather, especially during the winter, and pests like the hive beetle, Rennau said. Association members will be available to share their experience on how to combat those challenges.

Cost to attend will be $50 for non–members and $30 for members. The fee includes lunch. Additional guests 12 years of age or older are welcome. An additional fee of $10 will be charged for each additional guest to cover the cost of lunch and class material. In the event of inclement weather, the alternative snow date for the class will be Feb. 9. For more information, visit hoibees.org/beginningbeekeepers.