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2019 Chatham County Beekeeping School

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

Beekeeping School

Field Session for Chatham County Beekeeping School. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Date: Tuesdays, 6:30-9 p.m. from January 8-February 26, 2019; optional Ask a Beekeeper sessions begin at 6 p.m. before each class.

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

Cost for 8-week course (includes book + resource notebook): $100.00 

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

View the Course Outline below.

Register online

The deadline for registration is November 20.

For more information: Email Debbie Roos and put “Bee School” in the subject line.

Course Outline for 2019 Beekeeping School

Honey bees on red milkweed

Honey bees on red milkweed. Photo by Debbie Roos.

[Week 1]: January 8, 2019

Introduction to Beekeeping

Speakers: Debbie Roos, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Chatham County; Larry Daw and Phil Uptmor, 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

[Week 2]: January 15, 2019

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

[Week 3]: January 22, 2019

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]: January 29, 2019

Equipment and Frame Assembly

Speakers: David Jones, Jody Moore, and 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
  • Hands-on equipment assembly

[Week 5]: February 5, 2019

Hive Management

Speaker: Lori Hawkins, Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association (CCBA)

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

[Week 6]: February 12, 2019

Pollinator Gardens; Bee Stings

Speakers: Debbie Roos, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Chatham County; 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 19, 2019

Honey Bee Pests, Diseases, and Integrated Pest Management

Speaker: Nancy Ruppert, 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]: February 26, 2019

NCDA Hive Inspections; Chatham Beekeepers’ Mentoring Program; Expert Beekeeper Panel

Speakers: Don Hopkins, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Phil Uptmor, Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association (CCBA), and Chatham County Beekeeper Panel

  • NCDA hive inspections
  • The Chatham Beekeepers’ Association Mentoring Program
  • Open discussion with expert beekeepers

[Snow Date]: March 5, 2019

We will use this date for any make-up sessions due to inclement weather.

[Spring Field Session]: April 6, 2019

Hands-on Hive Peek: Honey Bee Pests & Diseases

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