January 17, 2024 - 9:00am -- bensman.88@osu.edu

Southwestern Ohio Beekeeper School

March 23, 2024 8:00am-3:00pm

Oasis Conference Center

902 Loveland Miamiville Road

Loveland, OH 45140

Registration includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch.

Registration Cost: $45

Registration opens 9:00 am January 17, 2024.

Registration is limited to the first 350 pre-registered participants. When the school reaches that number, the school will be closed, and no additional registrations will be accepted.

No walk-ins or late registrations will be accepted. There is no waitlist available.

Unless the conference is canceled, no refunds will be given for this conference. We must pay for your food and conference center whether you show up or not.


Online (preferred method)

Fast & easy. Pay with your credit card or mail in a check.

One person can register and pay for additional people. Please follow the instructions. When the site asks you how many additional people you want to register, do not include yourself in the count of additional people.

TO Register By Mail, Print the registration form by clicking Mail In registration beekeeper school

Make your check payable to OSU Extension. 

Mail your registration form and check to:

The Ohio State University Extension

Warren County

320 E. Silver Street

Lebanon, OH 45036

No confirmation will be sent to you if you register by mail. Contact the Warren County Extension office @ 513-695-1311 if you have questions about your registration.


An Eco-friendlier Approach to Handouts

The Southwestern Ohio Beekeeper School uses an eco-friendly, more cost-effective approach for handouts. We do not print paper copies of the handouts. Instead, all available handouts for the school will be posted on the Event Website by the Thursday prior to the school. If you would prefer a hard copy of the handouts, please print them off at home and bring them with you to the school.

The Oasis Conference Center has free Wi-Fi available. You are welcome to bring a tablet or smart phone with you to view the handouts online while attending the classes.


Break-out Sessions #1 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

1A Equipment Basics (New Beekeeper Class)

Amanda Bennett – Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Many products are available to the beginner beekeeper. But which ones do you really need? This session will cover basic equipment needed to begin your beekeeping adventure. The benefits and drawbacks of different systems will be discussed, and participants will take away a list of essential items needed.

1B The Private Life of Bees: How Bees Sense their World

Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

This session will focus on how bees use their senses to find food, create nests and locate mates. Decoding petal texture with hairs on their feet? Tasting with those feet, too? How do flowers look to bees? And what happens when bee scientists remove bee antennae, attach them to electrodes, and waft flower odors into the air? By examining bee biology and research findings related to bee senses, this session will increase your appreciation for bee senses and the researchers who study them.

1C Beekeeping Year #2

Larry Johnson – Butler County Beekeeper

Your bees survived their first winter. Now what? Larry Johnson, Butler County Beekeeper, will walk you through year #2

of keeping bees, including what to do and when to do it to keep your hives healthy, happy, and productive.

Break-out Sessions #2 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

2A Bee Basics (New Beekeeper Class)

Amanda Bennett – Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Opening a hive can be a very daunting task for the new beekeeper. What is “normal”? What should a beekeeper be looking for during inspections? It is important for all beekeepers to understand normal lifecycles, seasonal activities, bee abnormalities and oddities to be able to accurately assess colony health and look for red flags to guide management decisions.

2B Trees for Bees

Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

While trees provide many well-known ecological benefits, the importance of trees as a source of food for bees is sometimes overlooked. Ohio trees are an important food source for bees from early spring through late summer, with most tree species in Ohio blooming in spring and early summer. This program will emphasize some of the Ohio trees that provide food for bees, including natural history and horticultural requirements.

2C Swarm Trapping 101

Randy Smith - Clermont County Beekeeper

Consider it like "fishing" for bees; trapping is an easy, effective method for acquiring free colonies during the spring swarm season. Randy Smith attended the SW Ohio Beekeeper School and decided to start keeping bees in 2013. He currently has about 15 colonies. He bought packaged bees the first two years, but he hasn’t bought any new bees ever since. During this session, Randy will discuss his strategies for trapping bee swarms to keep his hives full without spending money on new packages.

Break-out Sessions #3 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

3A How to Successfully Install Packages and Nucs (New Beekeeper Class)

Kevin Kress – Butler County Beekeeper

During this session, you will be led step-by-step through the process of installing packages and nucs. Kevin will discuss how to assess the quality of your new package and how to care for them until they are installed. He will also share information on what to do after installation. This is an essential class for new beekeepers.

3B Varroa Mites & Small Hive Beetles – Big Threats to Hive Survival

Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

Colony mortality rates in Ohio are consistently more than 50% and these pests are the biggest reason why they occur. Alex Zomchek, Master Beekeeper Instructor/Researcher, will look at the history of these pests and how they went from just a nuisance to a real problem for beekeepers. Alex will discuss how to proactively monitor your hives for these pests and will offer some tips to reduce hive mortality and to increase hive productivity.

3C Turning Your Beekeeping Hobby into a Business

Trevor Corboy & Gigi Neal – Ohio State University Extension

During this session, Trevor and Gigi will discuss some aspects of turning your hobby into a business. What rules must you know for keeping bees and selling bee products? What records do you need to have because you are now in business? Do you need to pay taxes, and can you write off beekeeping equipment expenses? What’s your breakeven cost for your beekeeping enterprise? If you are thinking about transitioning your hobby to a business, this session will provide you with some information you need to get started.

Break-out Sessions #4 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

4A Creating Colony Strength & Health for First Winter Survival (New Beekeeper Class)

Kevin Kress – Butler County Beekeeper

Poor survival during the winter is a major issue for both new and experienced beekeepers. During this session, Kevin will provide tips for new beekeepers on how to prepare your hives to survive their first winter. He will discuss brood production, recognizing health issues, how to use and when to deploy bee equipment, and what materials and conditions are required for winter survival.

4B The Future of Beekeeping

Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

With over 50 years of practical beekeeping experience combined with 30+ years of honeybee research, Alex will share his concerns and outlooks on the future of beekeeping. Topics to include Ohio’s changing bee inspection program, your role as a citizen bee scientist, changing hive & foundation designs, new hive monitoring approaches, better nutrition, treatments, genetics, pest & diseases, and more. Share your questions and concerns in the Q & A.

4C How to Extract Honey

Ray Babcock – Hamilton County Beekeeper

Extracting the honey from your hives is an essential task that every beekeeper must learn to do. It’s not that hard unless you’ve never been taught how to do it. During this session, Ray Babcock, experienced beekeeper from Hamilton County, will show you how to extract your honey.


Beekeeping equipment vendors will be on-site selling equipment and merchandise. They will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Many beekeepers order their equipment and have it delivered to the school for pick-up. Check this website for an updated list of vendors planning to attend the 2024 bee school.