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

Conference Brochure

Resgistration Closed. 
Registration includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch.

Registration Information

Registration Cost: $35

Registration Closed
  • 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.

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 wifi 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.


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   Starting Your Second Season: What to Do & When

        Kim Flottum – Bee Culture Magazine

So your bees survived their first winter. Now what? During this session, Kim will walk beekeepers through managing their hives from March until Christmas. What to do and when to do it including information about when and if you should harvest honey from your hive.

1C   Bees & Crop Pollination: The Basics

        Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

How do honey bees and other bees pollinate important Ohio and U.S crops? This session will focus on pollination basics including the botany of pollination, key bee pollinators, and factors that influence successful crop pollination.

1D   Swarm Traps, Trap Outs & Cut Outs: Learn Ways to Obtain Feral Bees

        Gary Keuffer – Brown County Beekeeper

Have you ever been asked to remove a swarm, but didn’t know how to do it? This class is for you. During this session, Gary will discuss the equipment and methods required to trap and remove bees from various habitats.


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   Timing IS Everything: Learn What Buttons to Push and When to Push Them to Improve Hive Health                       

        Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

You cannot control the weather, but you can use it to your advantage when managing your hives. Bees are stimulus-response organisms. Knowing WHAT buttons to push and WHEN to push them can make all the difference for improving bee health and hive productivity. During this session, Alex will explore seasonal bee curves and how beekeepers can use them to be more successful with their hives.

2C   Combs & Beeswax: No Honey Bees Without It

        Dr. Jim Tew – Retired Ohio State University Beekeeping Specialist

Combs and rendered beeswax is absolutely critical for honey bees.  How is it made?  When is it made? What are the components?  What’s the role of propolis? During this session, Dr. Tew will discuss important role of combs and beeswax for hive success.  

2D   Beekeeping on a Budget

        Randy Smith – Clermont County Beekeeper

Keeping bees can be hard on the pocketbook, but it doesn't have to be.  Learn how to keep bees with minimal investment. We'll show you how to acquire free bee colonies and reduce equipment costs. 


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   Hot Colonies or Killer Bees? Dealing with Aggressive Colonies                          

Dr. Jim Tew – Retired Ohio State University Beekeeping Specialist

How should beekeepers deal with aggressive colonies? Why are colonies aggressive? During this session, Dr. Tew will discuss managing “hot colonies” including information on whether to requeen, how to safely move them and where to locate them to protect non-beekeepers from their hostile behavior.

3C   Season Long Forage for Bees

        Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology

What plants sustain bees (including native bees) throughout the year, and how can we locate hives and enhance habitat to help provide food when bees need it?

3D   Bee Hive Selection

        Gary Keuffer – Brown County Beekeeper

What type of hives work the best? Look at the internet and everyone has a different opinion. During this session, Gary will compare the pros and cons of keeping bees with these different methods: Langstroth, Top Bar, Warre, Horizontal and Modern Top Bar.


 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   Using Advanced Monitoring to Increase Production and Reduce Hive Mortality

        Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County

Your bees keep dying and you don’t know why. Is it bad bees, bad beekeeping or both? This session will focus on adding state of the art monitoring techniques to old school beekeeping (a.k.a animal husbandry) to improve the health and productivity of your hives. During this session, Alex will explore how using calendar dates, brood numbers and pest thresholds can improve the survivability of your hives. Knowing what to look for and when to look will make you a better beekeeper.

4C   All About Drones

        Kim Flottum – Bee Culture Magazine

The poor misunderstood drone. Are these high maintenance males really needed for hive success? During this session, Kim will discuss the life of a drone, from basic biology to their role in the hive.

4D   Making Mead at Home

        Randy Smith – Clermont County Beekeeper

Often referred to as "honey wine" and "the nectar of the gods", mead is simply fermented honey and the oldest known alcoholic beverage. This session includes simple instructions for making your own batch of mead like a Viking. 



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.