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Beekeeping schools scheduled throughout state

10 schools to be held

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2016) — While Kentucky’s honey bees are clustering through the winter, beekeepers will have opportunities to sharpen their skills through a series of schools scheduled throughout the state.

“Kentucky has a rich heritage in beekeeping, and today it’s becoming increasingly popular as a hobby as well as a business,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “These schools offer valuable information from experts in the field that will help beginners and veteran beekeepers alike.”

Schools are:

  • Beginning and Advanced Tracks, Dadant and Sons, Jan. 16, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, Fairfield Inn, Frankfort. Featured speaker will be Mike Gardner. Registration fees are $45 for individuals and $68 for couples and families. Lunch on your own. Contact (502) 848-0000 to register. Hotel discounts are available for those wanting to stay overnight.
  • Kelley’s follow-up to the Beekeeping 101 class, Jan. 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST at the 807 West Main Street, Clarkson facility. Fee is $30 per person plus tax. Class size is limited to 50 people. There will be a morning and afternoon break and a one-hour lunch break (restaurants are within driving distance).
  • Eastern Kentucky Winter Bee School, Jan. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Hazard Community and Technical College, 1 Community College Dr., Hazard, KY 41701. Featured speaker will be Dr. Ricardo Bessin, University of Kentucky entomology professor and Kentucky Integrated Pest Management coordinator. Pre-registration is $20 for adults and $10 for students. Registration at the door is $25 and $15, respectively. Send checks to the Perry County Extension Office. For more information, contact Charles May, Perry County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, at (606) 436-2044 or [email protected].
  • South Central Kentucky Bee School, Feb. 6 from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST, James Bazzell Middle School, 201 New Gallatin Road in Scottsville. Featured speakers will include Phil Craft, retired Kentucky state apiarist, and Kent Williams, EAS master beekeeper, as well as other experienced and accomplished beekeepers. Classes will cover beginning through advanced beekeeping topics. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. CST. Cost is $10 per person, $15 per couple, and $25 for FFA, Girl Scouts, and other groups. A catered barbecue lunch will be available for purchase. Vendors will be on site. For more information, contact John Pace, (270) 651-6507, or Michele Boling (270) 792-9015, [email protected].
  • Introduction to Beekeeping, Feb. 13, and Intermediate Beekeeping, Feb. 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST both days, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg. Fee is $45 per person for each session and includes 20 percent off dining voucher and complimentary admission to the Village. A dining reservation is recommended to assure availability. Online registration is available at http://shakervillageky.org/event/
introduction-to-beekeeping/ and http://shakervillageky.org/event/intermediate-beekeeping/. For more information, contact Merin Roseman at (859) 734-1550 or [email protected].
  • Southeastern Kentucky Beekeeping School, Feb. 20, McCreary Central High School, Stearns. Pre-registration is $15; registration at the door is $20. Registration includes refreshments and lunch. For more information, contact Greg Whitis, McCreary County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, at (606) 376-2524 or [email protected].
  • Northeastern Kentucky Bee School, Feb. 27, registration 7 to 8:30 a.m. EST, school 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Maysville Community and Technical College, 1755 U.S. Hwy. 68, Maysville. Featured speaker will be Dr. John Strang, University of Kentucky horticulture professor. Pre-registration is $20; registration at the door is $25. Registration for children is $7.50. Fee includes lunch and refreshments. For more information, contact Bobby Fore, ATTN: Beekeeping School, 1338 Stevens Road, Owingsville, KY 40360. Make checks payable to the Licking River Beekeepers Association.
  • Audubon Beekeeping School, March 5, registration 8 a.m. CST, classes 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Henderson Extension Expo Center. This school will offer beginner to advanced classes and classes on adding value beyond the hive – honey cooking, soap making, and candle making. Registration is $15 for adults ($20 at the door) and $5 for children 12 and under. For more information, contact Larry Stone at (270) 339-7245 or Jan Powell at (270) 860-2942.
  • Bluegrass Beekeepers School, March 12, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, Bradford Hall, Kentucky State University, Frankfort. “Bee Friendly Frankfort” events will precede the school, and the 2016 American Honey Princess will be a guest. The welcoming address will be presented by Dr. Subba Palli, University of Kentucky, speaking on For more information on the Bluegrass Beekeepers School, contact Phil Clark at [email protected].
  • Kentucky State Beekeepers Association Spring Meet, April 9, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT, Oldham County Extension Office, 1815 North Highway 393, La Grange, KY  40031. Featured speaker Dr. Claire Rittschoff will talk about the links between aggression and honey bee health.

In addition to the beekeeping schools, the first public forum for the Kentucky Pollinator Protection Plan will be Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. EST at the Little Theater in Bradford Hall, Kentucky State University in Frankfort. This plan will discuss the four goals defined by various agricultural stakeholders and solicit input from the public.

State apiarist Dr. Tammy Horn Potter said honey production totals in 2015 were up from the previous year with approximately 130,660 pounds of honey reported from beekeepers in about 70 counties. Beekeepers reported approximately 9,770 hives, but that figure does not reflect all the counties in the state. Potter said the percentage of losses reported by beekeepers last year remained about the same as in 2014 (23 percent).