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

Conference Brochure
Online Registration Website AVAILABLE JANUARY 15TH at 8:00 a.m.
Registration Form (if registering by mail)AVAILABLE JANUARY 15TH

Registration Information

Registration includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch.
Registration Cost: $35
Registration opens January 15, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.

  • 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.

How to Register
Online (preferred method)

By Mail
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   Diseases of the Hive
Jerry Hayes – Bee Culture Magazine
During this session, you will learn more about common hive diseases, including Nosema and Foulbrood.

1C   April Beekeeping Tasks

        Gary Keuffer – Brown County Beekeeper
In Ohio, April is one of the most important months in beekeeping. During this session, Gary will discuss the wide variety of tasks that must be completed, everything from inspecting your hives to preparing honey supers.

1D   How I Went From the Bee School to 15 Hives in Five Years
Randy Smith – Clermont County Beekeeper
During this session, Randy Smith, a newer beekeeper, will share his story of how he went from attending the Beekeeper School to growing his apiary to 15 hives in five years. As a part of his story, he will share his successes and failures in hopes of helping you to avoid the traps and become successful beekeepers. Randy keeps bees with a budget in mind. He builds a lot of his own hive ware and traps swarms to increase his numbers. This will be a practical, common sense conversation about his beekeeping journey.

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   Queen Monitoring & Rearing
Alex Zomchek – Certified Master Beekeeper Instructor, Butler County
Missing, failing, or failed queens have become the new normal for most beekeepers.  This in turn leads to failed, failing, and/or unproductive hives.  This presentation highlights will who the how and whys to more closely and timely monitor your queen’s production.  This lecture will highlight the importance of good genetics.  We will also discuss how to purchase better queens together with how to collect and/or produce your own queens as needed using simple techniques.

2C   Weeds for Bees: What They Offer to Bees & Other Pollinators
Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology
We can’t beat ‘em, so why not appreciate some of the weeds that contribute to pollinator forage? In this session, we’ll explore weeds, weed biology and the food source some weeds provide for bees. We’ll also discuss some of the worst weeds, ones that should be removed or avoided because of the damage they can do to the environment.

2D   Learn to Make Soap at Home
Ray Satterfield – Popular Speaker & Soap Maker
During this session, Ray will provide instruction on how to make your own soap.

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   Pests of the Hive
Jerry Hayes – Bee Culture Magazine
During this session, you will learn more about common hive pests, including Varroa Mites and Small Hive Beetles.

3C   Phenology for Beekeepers
Denise Ellsworth – Ohio State University, Department of Entomology
Phenology is the study of recurring biological phenomena and their relationship to weather and climate. Bird migration, hunting and gathering seasons, blooming of wildflowers and trees, and the seasonal appearance of insects are examples of phenological events that have been recorded for centuries. Participants will learn how to track bloom time of local plants using a web-based biological calendar, and how to customize this calendar for bee-specific plants.

3D   Ask the Expert Room
During this time period, we will make some of our speakers available in a separate room to answer your individual beekeeping questions.

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
This presentation explores bringing old school animal husbandry in line with state of the art hive monitoring.  Knowing dates (seasonal bee curves), brood numbers, pests & diseases thresholds gives you tools to work your bees in a high hive mortality world.   Knowing what to look for; when to look; and what to do about varying conditions will make you a better beekeeper.

4C   Pheromones – The Language of Bees
Gary Keuffer – Brown County Beekeeper
During this session, Gary will discuss some of the 15 currently known bee pheromones and how we can use them to our advantage when we are working with our bees.

4D   Ask the Expert Room
During this time period, we will make some of our speakers available in a separate room to answer your individual beekeeping questions.       


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.


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