March 24, 2018

Oasis Conference Center, Loveland OH 45140

Registration materials will be posted on January 15, 2018

Conference Brochure

Online Registration Website Registration Form (if registering by mail)


In case of inclement weather, check the event website for conference updates.

Registration Information

Registration includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch.

Registration Cost: $35
Registration opens January 15, 2018 - Closed (Full)

  • 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 a waiting list available online, but you aren’t likely to get in the school if you aren’t one of the first 350 people to register.
  • Sorry but no refunds will be given for this conference. We have to pay for your food whether you show up or not.

2 Ways to Register

Online (preferred method)

  • Go to the event website and click on the link to the online registration website.
  • Fast & easy.
  • Pay with your credit card.
  • Receive an emailed confirmation that you are registered for the school.
  • You can register other people on the registration website, but unique email addresses are required for each participant. Please collect their email addresses prior to registering to make the process quicker and easier.

By Mail

  • Go to the event website.
  • Print off a registration form.
  • Make your check payable to OSU Extension.
  • Mail your registration and check to:

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 if you have questions about your registration.

A More Eco-Friendly 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.

As technology improves, many conferences have switched to paperless. Because we eliminated the cost of printing handouts, we did not increase the registration cost this year. In fact, the cost to attend this school has not changed since 2009.

Special Opportunity at the 2018 Southwestern Ohio Beekeeper School

Become certified as an Ohio Pollinator Advocate. This new training is sponsored by The Ohio State University’s Partners for Pollinators program. Ohio Pollinator Advocates are certified, trained volunteers who spread the word about the importance of pollinators. Advocates complete at least two hours of training in pollination biology, Ohio bee identification, bee biology and habitat enhancement. Once certified, advocates agree to teach adult and youth audiences why pollinators matter and how to take action to conserve these important animals. Advocates have access to outreach resources and materials, including PowerPoint programs and identification guides.

Become certified by attending BOTH sessions at this year’s workshop. Certified advocates will receive complementary bee cards to use in outreach activities.

Class Descriptions

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 Honey Bee Nutrition (Year Two & Beyond Class)
Kim Flottum – Bee Culture Magazine

Nectar and pollen are the meat and potatoes in your bee’s diets. What pollens are best and worst? What role does water play? What should you feed and when? Nutrition management is vitally important in the business of bees and providing enough good food all the time is critical.


1C Varroa Mites and Small Hive Beetles
Andrew Kartal – Hamilton County Beekeeper

Learn how to properly inspect your hives for these two common and troublesome pests. You will receive information to identify these pests and learn about their life cycles, plus you will get some useful information on controlling these pests in your hives.


1D Pollinator Advocate Training – Part I: Pollinator Biology
Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

Why do pollinators matter, who they are, and how do we protect them? While beekeepers are tuned in to the importance of pollinators, many Ohioans don’t realize that one in every three bites of food we take can be linked back to animal pollinators. This session will focus on the biology of pollination and pollinators, and the threats facing these animals.

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 up 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 Monitoring Your Hives (Year Two & Beyond Class)
Dr. Jim Tew – Retired Ohio State University Beekeeping Specialist

What should a healthy hive look like when you open the top? How can you tell if you have pests? When should you consider feeding your bees? Dr. Tew will walk you through the steps for inspecting your hives and provide insight on when you need to intervene to help your bees survive.


2C Creating Buzz: Direct Marketing Honey
Mary Griffith – Ohio State University Extension, Madison County

This presentation will review the most current regulations on bottling, labeling, and selling honey. Participants will discuss ideas for packaging and marketing honey products to appeal to consumer trends.


2D Pollinator Advocate Training – Part II: Bees in Your Ohio Backyard 
Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

Ohio is home to over 500 species of bees and other pollinators, but most people don’t recognize the identity or importance of these hard-working creatures. This program will focus on common Ohio bees, including their fascinating biology and life histories. We’ll look at some of the amazing pollinators that call Ohio home, and discuss ways to plant and tend gardens and natural spaces to favor pollinators.

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 Seasonal Management - Part I (Year Two & Beyond Class)
Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

What to do and when to do it. You will be led step-by-step through a calendar year of managing your bee hives.


3C Good Neighbor Beekeeping
Kim Flottum – Bee Culture Magazine

If you have neighbors, and you have bees, there are a host of things you need to attend to. With all the attention bees are getting because of their issues, you don’t want to be the beekeeper that changes how people feel about bees. They need to be well behaved, disciplined and yet have a safe and secure home. Fences, barriers, water, time of day and more all come into play when it comes to being a good neighbor. Overlook one aspect, and you may not have bees to keep. Find out the guidelines before you and your bees have problems.


3D How I Went From the Bee School to 15 Hives in Five Years
Randy Smith – Clermont County Beekeeper

During this session, Randy Smith, a new beekeeper, will share his story of how he went from the Beekeeper School to 15 hives in five years.

The following is a brief description of Randy’s journey. For more details, plan to attend his session.

As a gardener and pollinator enthusiast I had been toying with the idea of keeping bees around the homestead for several years but for whatever reason just didn't have the motivation or courage to get started. The idea of keeping bees was intimidating. However in 2012, after talking to a few local beekeepers, attending a couple beginner classes, along with the encouragement of my good friend Greg Meyer, I decided to take the plunge. I made a small investment in some basic equipment, tools and hiveware, along with 2 packages of bees from Georgia.

By the 2nd year, I was totally engrossed- excited about the possibilities of a growing apiary, I purchased some additional hiveware, package bees and a couple local nucs. By year 3, although still very excited about bees, I began to become a bit frustrated with the ever increasing costs of winter losses and purchased hiveware, I was spinning my wheels filling in losses with purchased bees. About that time I decided to join a local club and began researching alternative ways of obtaining bees while reducing costs.

For the past 3 years I've been building an apiary gradually with minimal investment. The only real costs that I have are purchased frames. I build my own hiveware- boxes, bottom boards, and covers. I don't use foundation and rather than purchase new bees, I make splits from overwintered colonies and trap local swarms in the spring. It's never been a goal to become a commercial apiary but rather I keep bees for the pollination of fruits and vegetables on the farm, and help fill a niche market for local raw honey. Any growth is based on what my own time, labor and skills will afford me. Today I keep 15-20 colonies and will perhaps grow to 25-30 within a couple more years.

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

4A Preparing Your Hive to Survive Their First Winter (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 Seasonal Management - Part II (Year Two & Beyond Class)
Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

The second half of the presentation listed above during session 2C.


4C Q & A Time with a Panel of Local Beekeepers
Panel of Local Beekeepers

Didn’t get your questions answered at the earlier sessions? This “Question and Answer” time will allow the audience to ask burning questions about beekeeping to a panel of local beekeepers. Of course, we can’t answer them all, but we will do our best to send you home with the information you need to be successful with your beekeeping enterprise.


4D Story Time with Dr. Tew: Lessons learned from 44 years of working with beekeepers
Dr. Jim Tew – Retired Ohio State University Beekeeping Specialist

Dr. Tew will share stories from his 44 years of working with beekeepers and yes, the stories will be entertaining, but they will also include valuable lessons for today’s beekeeper.


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. The list of vendors and their contact information will be posted on this website as soon as it becomes available.