Beekeeping Education Program
We have a comprehensive program of beekeeping classes at the BioFuel Oasis. They are directed specifically at backyard beekeepers with just a few hives. Our program will teach you how to keep your hive healthy and alive over many winters. We recommend that you, as a backyard beekeeper, inspect your hive(s) every 2-4 weeks from March-September and monitor varroa mite levels, as this keeps the entire bee population in the East Bay healthier and stronger. It will also give you the tools and knowledge to keep your hive alive and if it does die, to know the reason why.
We recommend you learn how to do a basic hive inspection as early as possible. Here are the 3 classes that we consider requirements for your first year of beekeeping:
Backyard Beekeeping – lecture class on the basics of beekeeping, how to get bees, hive placement, etc.
2016 Dates: Feb. 28th, Apr. 10th, May 15th, Sept, Nov
Hive Inspection Class – hands-on class where you learn to do a hive inspection in a beehive
2016 Dates: Mar. 13th, Apr. 23rd, May 22nd, summer dates TBA
Outsmarting Varroa Mites – hands-on class to learn how to monitor & manage varroa mite levels
2016 Dates: Mar. 26th, Apr. 24th, June 5th, August, Sept
Full List of Classes
Here is the full list of classes we offer with dates. In order to learn all the aspects and seasons of beekeeping, we recommend you take them over the course of 1-2 years.
Backyard Beekeeping -Feb. 28th, Apr. 10th, May 15th, Sept, Nov
Hive Inspection Class – Mar. 13th, Apr. 23rd, May 22nd, summer dates TBA
Swarm Prevention – March 6th
Outsmarting Varroa Mites – Mar. 26th, Apr. 24th, June 5th, August, Sept
Making Splits & Nucs – Apr. 3rd, May 1st
Honey Harvesting – Apr. 10th, May 22nd
Preparing for Winter – September
FULL Descriptions & to REGISTER
Go to our Class Page to register and see the full descriptions of the classes.
To get more hands-on experience with bees, Jennifer Radtke offers bee apprenticeships on her own, outside the BioFuel Oasis. In the apprenticeships, you follow and manage two hives over the course of 3-4 months. Please contact her at for more information.
About Jennifer Radtke, Beekeeping Instructor
Jennifer has been keeping bees in her backyard in Oakland for 13 years. She currently has 4 hives spread between Oakland, Piedmont, & Orinda, but grandmothers many hives across the area owned by her apprentices and students. She is former Vice-President of the Alameda Beekeeping Association. She is co-founder of the BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley, which sells beekeeping supplies & bees, and has a whole beekeeping education program for backyard beekeepers. She believes in putting the bees and their health first and listening to the bees rather than a top-down management approach. If she lived in a less densely populated area, she would likely be treatment-free. She uses minimal soft organic treatments like formic acid & oxalic acid dribble/vapor when varroa mite levels exceed 15 mites per 300 bees. For the last 4 years, since she started tracking mites carefully, she has pretty much had 100% survival rate each winter, with the occasional death from queen problems.