Beekeeping has become a popular hobby for many people. People become involved in beekeeping for a variety of different reasons. They may be interested in producing their own honey, keeping bees for their pollination services, are concerned with bee populations or just find them fascinating.
Regardless your reason, beekeeping can be a rewarding activity if you’re willing to put in the work. University of Illinois Extension will be offering a 5-part beginning beekeeping course on Wednesdays, September 14, 21, 28 and October 12 at the Morgan County Extension office in Jacksonville from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Classes will cover the basics of keeping bees from the history of beekeeping, honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, beekeeping through the seasons as well as products from the hive. There will also be a Hive Day on Saturday, September 17 from 1 to 4 p.m., where participants will be able to learn how to work with the different tools used in beekeeping, as well as observe an active hive.
This course will be taught by Fred Gerberding, Arvin Pierce, Jennifer Fishburn and Larry Roth.
Fred Gerberding has been a hobby beekeeper since 1999 with anywhere from 2 to 55 hives depending on the time of year. He lightheartedly calls his hobby Twin Bee Apiaries and endeavors to include his entire family in his passion. He is member of the Lincolnland Beekeepers Association, the Illinois State Beekeepers Association, a charter member of the Illinois Queen Initiative and an IQI trained queen rearer.
Arvin Pierce is the owner of acbees apiaries and has been keeping honey bees for 14 years. He started with two nucs of Russians his first year. After finding out how interesting and amazing these little creatures were, two hives just weren’t enough. He has kept up to 70-80 hives, and currently has around 50 hives. In addition to keeping bees, he has spent many years removing and saving established colonies from structures and trees.
Jennifer Fishburn is a Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties. In addition to managing, promoting and providing horticulture education programs in the local area, she is also a beekeeper. She currently has two hives.
Larry Roth is the apiary inspector for Morgan County and the surrounding area with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He is also a beekeeper and usually has around 20 hives.
Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited. The fee for this 5-part course is $35 per person. You can register online at http://go.illinois.edu/beginbeekeeping or call 217-243-7424.