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NC State Extension

2017 Chatham County Beekeeping School

An eight week course sponsored by the
Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension
and the Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association


Date: Mondays, 6:30-9:00 p.m. from January 9-March 6, 2017; optional Ask a Beekeeper sessions begin at 6:00 p.m. before each class.

Location: Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center, Pittsboro, NC

Cost for 8-week course (includes book + resource notebook): $90.00 

The school will include hands-on sessions and hive inspections as weather permits.

View the Course Outline below.

Deadline for registration: December 1, 2016*. To register, you must send in a registration form along with your check.

Download a registration form. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check.

* Register early! Space is limited and we always fill up before the deadline and have to turn people away! Due to the high demand for our school, first preference will be given to Chatham residents and/or current members of the Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association. If there are still slots available after the December 1 deadline, we will admit students from outside the county on a first come, first served basis. We will send an email confirmation of registration on or before December 5. Checks will be returned for those who did not make it into the school.

For more information: Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos and put “Bee School” in the subject line.

Course Outline for 2017 Beekeeping School

honey bee on ironweed

[Week 1]: January 9, 2017

Introduction to Beekeeping

Speakers: Debbie Roos, Chatham County Cooperative Extension; Larry Daw, Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association (CCBA)

  • Course overview/the “big picture”
  • Resource list (websites, publications, organizations, equipment suppliers, listserv)
  • Basic equipment (smoker, fuel, hive tools, protective equipment, etc.)
  • Basic hive parts (bottom boards, hive body, supers, frames, inner cover, outer cover)
  • Introduction to Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association, North Carolina State Beekeepers’ Association, and the NC Master Beekeepers Program

No class on January 16 in honor of the MLK holiday!

[Week 2]: January 23, 2017

Biology and Life Cycle of the Honey Bee

Speaker: Nancy Ruppert, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

  • Ecological context; Hymenoptera
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Individual caste life cycles, duties
  • Hive life cycle (brief intro to what bees do in each season)
  • Communication: pheromones, dancing
  • Brief intro to races

[Week 3]: January 30, 2017

Starting a New Hive

Speaker: Jennifer Keller, North Carolina State University

  • Site considerations: location, neighbors, ordinances
  • Getting your own: package bees, nucs, swarms, buying an existing colony or split (advantages, disadvantages, and cautions of various sources)
  • Installing bees
  • Making or buying a nuc
  • Caring for the bees (more to be covered in Hive Management)
  • The importance of feeding after installation
  • Sources for bees – state certified

[Week 4]: February 6, 2017

Equipment and Frame Assembly

Speakers: Ray Wise, CCBA, and other members of the Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association will lead small groups

  • Review of basic equipment and hive parts (bottom boards, hive body, supers, frames, inner cover, outer cover) and what and how they work together; buying vs. building
  • Other equipment (queen excluders, feeders, hive straps, moving frame, staples)
  • Plans for making own hive bodies and supers
  • Sources for equipment
  • Frame assembly demo

[Week 5]: February 13, 2017

Hive Management

Speaker: Nancy Ruppert, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

  • Late winter/early spring
  • Honey flow prep; post honey flow
  • Summer management
  • Fall and winter management

[Week 6]: February 20, 2017

Pollinator Gardens; Bee Stings

Speakers: Debbie Roos, Chatham County Cooperative Extension; Dr. Erik Butler, MD

  • Honey plants and the principles of planting a bee garden
  • Bee stings: what to expect, how to minimize them, medical responses, and how to treat

[Week 7]: February 27, 2017

Honey Bee Pests, Diseases, and Integrated Pest Management

Speaker: Don Hopkins, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

  • An overview of the most common pests and diseases of honey bees with an emphasis on the most problematic
  • IPM strategies: resistant breeds, screened bottom boards, proper maintenance, checking population, proper use of pesticides, mechanical controls

[Week 8]: March 6, 2017

NCDA Hive Inspections; Certified Naturally Grown; Expert Beekeeper Panel

Speakers: Moya Hallstein, CCBA; Don Hopkins, NCDA&CS; Gerald Wert, CCBA, and Chatham County Beekeeper Panel

  • NCDA hive inspections
  • The Certified Naturally Grown standard for beekeeping
  • Open discussion with expert beekeepers

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