Learn How To Keep Honey Bees

We offer weekend courses in how to start keeping bees, particularly for those living in the Central, East and West Kootenays. Whether you want to keep just a pair of hives or are interested in starting a beekeeping business, this course will give you the knowledge and confidence to look after honey bees.

The course, delivered in both the classroom and the apiary, is taught by Master Beekeepers and BCHPA-Certified Instructors Amanda Goodman Lee and Jeff Lee,  the owners of Swan Valley Honey. We use a curriculum approved by the B.C. Honey Producers Association. Over two full weekend days we’ll cover what you need to know to start, and then give a full day of hands-on experience in one of our apiaries in May.

Other Courses

We also offer periodic advanced courses at our farm geared towards specific issues, such as spring management, making increase, queen-rearing, integrated pest management, preparing hives for winter and more. Contact us directly for more information.

NEXT Beginner Beekeeping Course

February 23-24, 2019

College of the Rockies, Creston Campus

Date: February 23-24, 2019 (Saturday and Sunday), Field day in May at our Placsko Road farm when weather permits opening hives.

Cost: $249 plus GST

To Register:


·   Introduction to Keeping Honey Bees ·   Basic bee biology
·   Regulatory Framework ·   Bees in an Urban Setting
·   Bee Hive Components, Equipment ·   Hive Placement
·   Handling Bees and Frames of Brood ·   Basic Problem-solving
·   Swarms and Swarm Prevention ·   Diseases, Medication, Colony Health
·   Honey harvesting and extraction ·   Preparing for winter
·   What to do with your honey ·   Other products from the hive
·   Questions and answers ·   Exam

Your BCHPA Certified Instructors: We are the owners of Honey Bee Zen Apiaries Ltd., a company in Creston Valley that owns and operates Swan Valley Honey Ltd. In addition to our well-known locally-produced, all-natural honey, we also specialize in niche honeys, honey-based cosmetics, beekeeping technical services, public and private education services and pollination services to farmers.

Amanda Goodman Lee

Amanda is a Master Beekeeper and worked as a beekeeping technician for the University of B.C. on several research projects. She is a former advertising executive with PostMedia and is also a member of  Women Leading The Way. Amanda is a former president of the Richmond Beekeepers Association and is on a BCHPA committee.

Contact: Amanda – Ph. 250-866-6861 Email:

Jeff Lee

In addition to being a Master Beekeeper, Jeff is a writer and editor. A journalist by profession, he has 40 years of experience in reporting, much of it with The Vancouver Sun. He left the newspaper in 2016. He has taught at Langara College and is regularly sought as a commentator and communications expert. He is the also First Vice-President of the B.C Honey Producers Association

Contact: Jeff – Ph: 604-328-5028 Email:

Updated February, 2019

Schools & Tours

We LOVE giving tours of our bee yards and production facilities! Part of our goal as beekeepers is to share our love for and knowledge of honey bees. We are proud of our business and we like to show it off.

We know people are naturally curious about honey bees, about the challenges they face, and how honey is made.  We have developed several tours scaled for schools and small groups.

Contact us for more information and rates.

Book A Beekeeper

Have an event where you’d like to hear more about beekeeping? Both Amanda and Jeff are dynamic speakers and have delivered a number of public lectures.

We’ve given talks at the B.C. Home and Garden Show, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, University of British Columbia, Women Leading The Way, local Rotary and other service clubs, garden clubs and local beekeeping associations.

We have developed a number of apiculture-related talks, from “Bees, Backyards and Blossoms” to “Lessons for Commercial Beekeepers” to “How To Convince Your Municipality To Allow Bees”.
We are also available for one-on-one consultations with novice beekeepers looking for help and better knowledge.


Both Amanda and Jeff are BCHPA-certified honey judges. We’re available to Farm Fairs, beekeeping associations and other groups that hold honey contests. Please contact us for more information

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