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The Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and Kentucky State University are teaming up to offer beekeeping schools throughout the state.
Whether you are a veteran beekeeper or a beginner eager to get started, these day-long educational workshops, held on Saturdays, offer sessions on everything from where to buy equipment to tips on harvesting your first batch of honey.
“Honey bees play an extremely important role in Kentucky agriculture as crop pollinators,” Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. “Up to one-third of the food we consume depends in some way on honey bees. That’s why the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is proud to support these beekeeping schools and see their numbers grow.”
There has been a steady increase in the number of beekeeping schools in the state and the number of Kentuckians attending them. Kentucky State Apiarist Phil Craft estimated that 800 people attended the schools last year.
The series of beekeeping schools kicks off Jan. 23 with the Eastern Kentucky Beekeeping School in Hazard, followed by the Allen County Beekeeping School Feb. 6 in Scottsville, the Southeast Beekeeping School Feb. 20 in Whitley City, the inaugural Northeast Kentucky Beekeeping School Feb. 27 in Morehead and the Audubon Beekeeping School March 6 in Henderson.
The largest event will be the Bluegrass Beekeeping School March 13 at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. The featured speaker will be Dr. Dave Tarpy, entomology professor at North Carolina State University. Kentucky State University Apiculture Extension Specialist Dr. Tom Webster will teach beginning beekeeping sessions. Nearly 400 beekeepers and six vendors attended the 2009 Bluegrass Beekeeping School.
For more information on each school, visit www.kyagr.com/statevet/bees/index.htm