Urban Beekeeping Apprenticeship – Astor Apiaries

Urban Beekeeping Apprenticeship

Astor Apiaries - Beekeepers at the hives, photo by Michael Kaminski.
Photo Credit: Michael Kaminski


Ready to take the next step in beekeeping? The Astor Apiaries Urban Beekeeping Apprenticeship Program is for those looking to start a hive or level-up their current skills. You'll receive guidance from a seasoned Master Beekeeper as well as guest mentors who share their expertise. You will learn about everything from spring installation through winter prep; we breakdown the overwhelming information so YOU can focus on learning the basics and successfully caring for your hive.



What is the total program cost?

The total cost depends on the bundle you choose. Please visit the program listing page to view all pricing. Click the dropdown menu on that page next to the blue "Add to Cart" button. The listed prices do not include sales tax.

To see the total price, add the bundle to the cart and begin the checkout process. Once your address is entered, the tax will be calculated. It will generally be somewhere around 8-9%.

Are there additional program fees, etc?

No, there are no additional fees from us. The tuition paid upfront covers materials and instructors/guest speakers. If you would like to bundle some gear from us with your tuition, the cost of the gear is on top of the base price.

You may need to purchase additional items depending on your preferences. If you prefer to purchase safety gear on your own or would like to use certain tools outside of the basic tools we use, you'll be responsible for those costs. We are happy to provide recommendations, but it's best to stick to the basics, especially for your first season.

Sales tax is calculated in addition to the tuition fee at checkout.

Is the program tuition refundable?

Due to the limited capacity of this program, tuition is non-refundable. If you cannot participate for some reason, you may transfer your slot to another person before the start of the program in January. Please contact us if this is the case. It is your responsibility to find a replacement person, however, if we know of others who would like to attend the program, we will connect you with them. Please make sure you can commit to this program before you sign up and pay the tuition.

Do you have a payment plan?

Yes. We can break up the cost into 4 payments over 6 weeks. Please note that all payments for this program are non-refundable. If you change your mind and decide to leave the program before you've paid your balance or if you are not able to make your last payment(s), you will forfeit any payments you've made. Any outstanding balance is required to be paid in full at the end of the 6-week period or you will be dropped from the program. Please make sure you can handle the financial requirements before signing up for the program.

To inquire about and set up a payment plan, please contact us at hello@astorapiaries.com.

I have already kept bees for at least one season... is this right for me?

Yes! No matter if you are just starting or have had bees for a few seasons, this program will strip away the noise and help you focus on what counts to keep a healthy and thriving hive.

Where will the sessions be held?

Most of the sessions will be held at The Compost Collective in Forest Hills, Queens. We have an excellent apiary with 10 hives there. Street parking is available and it's a short walk from public transit.

Some sessions will be held at other apiaries around the city, including the one we manage at Green-Wood Cemetery. We will finalize locations well in advance of the session so you have time to make arrangements. Transportation to and from all locations will be your responsibility.

I can't make it on Sundays, can I still participate?

Unfortunately no. In order to provide a time when most people can make it and when we can use our shared-use sites, Sundays are the only consistent day we can plan for.

I might miss a session or two. How can a make them up?

Since beekeeping has different requirements throughout the season, there may not be an opportunity to make-up a particular session. For example, treating a hive may be required during one session and not for any other sessions. Your instructor(s) will be happy to try to get you up to speed, but we cannot guarantee formal make-up opportunities for missed sessions. Please review the schedule for the Apprenticeship and make sure you can make all or as many sessions as possible before you pay your tuition.

What happens if a session gets rained-out?

If the weather is not cooperating with us, we may be forced to cancel a session. In that case, we will attempt to reschedule for the following weekend. Since the weather is beyond our control, we cannot guarantee an optimal new date for every participant. This may cause a scheduling conflict for some. We will do our best to get you up to speed at the next session if you cannot attend a rescheduled session.

Other weather events that can have an impact on beekeeping activities besides rain include low temperatures, overcast skies, and wind. If the conditions are ok to meet but not ok to open the hives, we may still hold a session and forego the 'hands-on' part of the session. Again, we will do what we can to move any missed opportunities to future sessions but it is not always possible. We are all sometimes at the mercy of the weather. By paying your tuition, you understand these risks and that they will not constitute any reimbursements or refunds.

Can I do this program virtually?

Unfortunately no. Beekeeping is a hands-on hobby and is difficult to learn unless you have your hands in a hive. We may have some session lectures over Zoom video calls in certain situations, but the majority of the program will be onsite and in-person.

I'm allergic to bees, can I still enroll in the apprenticeship?

You can but we recommend that you do not. If you do, please consult your doctor to make sure you are taking appropriate preventative measures in case of stings, especially if you may suffer anaphylactic shock. We will not be responsible for providing EpiPens or other forms of medication to treat allergic reactions. In case of an emergency, 911 will be called and we will assist EMTs as instructed. We are not medical professionals and should not be relied upon to provide medical care. Stings are inevitable as a beekeeper and should be taken as a serious threat for those who have allergies.

Are there any COVID restrictions or protocols?

In order to keep everyone safe and respect our host site(s), all participants must be fully vaccinated and be able to show their vaccine card or equivalent app-based proof. Fully vaccinated means having the initial full dose(s) of either of the 3 shots available. The booster shots are not required, although highly recommended. Masks may be required in some situations so please have one with you at all times. You also agree to notify us and quarantine yourself for 2 weeks if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID or if you have tested positive.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some sessions may be held virtually. This would be more likely during the cold season, but we reserve the right to hold a virtual session in place of any planned in-person session if we feel the risk to participants is too great.


Still have questions? Contact us at hello@astorapiaries.com and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

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