Thursday, February 27, 2003

Swarm wants into school

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Kevin Kress of Symmes Township, president of the Southwestern Ohio Beekeepers Association, with a rack onto which bees will build their honeycomb.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
The buzz keeps growing about the annual Southwestern Ohio Beekeepers School.

"If it is anything like the previous years, we will grow by another 30, 40 people," said Steve Bartels, an organizer of the March 8 event, and extension agent for the Ohio State University Extension, Butler County .

Nearly 400 people attended the school last year, which is about four times more than at its debut in 1976.

The high attendance at the event, and another held in Wooster, Ohio, show the growing interest in beekeeping.

"Anytime you get 1,000 beekeepers coming to two schools, I think it's quite incredible," Bartels said.

The school will be held beginning at 9 a.m. March 8 at Princeton High School
Cost is $20 for adults and $12 for children 17 and under
Pre-registration is requested by Friday. Call 887-3722 or 932-1891 or visit Web site
Or register the day of the event beginning at 8 a.m.
One draw is the wide range of discussions, from topics for bee experts to those just wishing to begin a new hobby.

"There is something there for everyone," said Jim Tew, the keynote speaker and an associate professor of entomology at Ohio State. "If you know nothing about beekeeping, you won't leave an accomplished beekeeper; but you will have one solid introduction."

In his speech, "The Business of Beekeeping," Tew plans to give guidance to beekeepers along every step of their hobby, including expansion into a business. "I will discuss with them how to grow as their hobby grows," Tew said.

Ohio is one of the largest beekeeping states, with about 3,000 beekeepers, Tew said.

"For most people it stays as a hobby," he said. "But when the economy is as flat as it is, people start to look at their hobbies to supplement an income."

Those attending can choose four breakout sessions, covering more than 20 topics. Session topics include characteristics of bee races, apitherapy, honey production and processing wax.

Organizers said that the networking available at the school is always a reason for some to attend.

"It's a chance to meet about 450 people that share the interest of beekeeping and all the components of beekeeping," said Kevin Kress , president of the Southwestern Ohio Beekeepers Association and an organizer of the event.

Bee equipment and supply companies will be attending the show and door prizes will be awarded.

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