What can I say except for what an excellent program they put on this year! I arrived around 8:30am to find what appeared to be 400+ beekeepers from across the state, as well as other states attending. The school was at the Kentucky State University and directions to the event were top notch. There were signs everywhere for where to park and where the school was located. This started a wonderful day of learning.
When entering the school, there were volunteers to assist with pre-registered guests as well as those that didn’t. Clearly showing the lines and helping everyone out. The line to the registration was long, but within 3 minutes I was already through, had my packet and door prize stub in hand!
Continuing onto the vendor’s area where companies like Kelly Bee Supply, Dadant as well as other beekeeping companies were present loaded with tons of beekeeping equipment to serve all. We continued onto the Bradford Hall where the main opening session was getting ready to take place. During the day there were tons of refreshments (donuts, coffee, bottled water, orange juice) for patrons which was very nice of the organizations to provide this.
Bluegrass beekeeping conference
There was a welcoming to the very large audience from various speakers, including Dr. Tom Webster, Dr. Tammy Horn among others. The keynote speaker was Dr. Debbie Delaney (University of Delaware, Assistant professor, Wildlife and Ecology Department), which gave an outstanding speech of everything from a-z in beekeeping within her allotted time. I wish I could have spent all day listening to her speech on the various studies they are conducting with beekeeping. Most interesting to myself was the breeding and intermingling social aspects of different bee species in the studies that she showed during her slide show.
Next was the breakout sessions, which I attended the “Problems in the Hive” by Dr. Tom Webster. I have spoken with Dr. Webster many times before only through email, but now I finally was able to see him in action with his gentle nature with a wealth of information that he was able to produce in 45 minutes regarding various diseases and mite issues. Class size was about 60 in a large “theatre” classroom.
The next 45 minute breakout session that I attended was the “EAS Master Beekeeping Exam Warm-up” by Kent Williams. Kent is known as a huge commercial beekeeper over in the Western part of Kentucky and I have attended several of his classes before. I have to say, the presentation of every aspect of the EAS Master Beekeeping exam was spot on. I have done preps for such classes before to earn various degrees and this one tops them all. Not only did he go over correct what to expect, but also provided humor in his lecture, which is great about Kent. This class ran 15 minutes over, but everyone was on the edge of their seats listening to what he had to say. I’m sure we could have spent a good 3-4 hours just over this topic. The class size was about 20 due to the nature of those wanting to be certified as a Master Beekeeper from EAS. This class by far was the best class I attended.
During the breakout for the lunch, registered guests were served Chick Fil A box lunches, along with option for vegetarian boxes as well. It was an excellent lunch while listening to other beekeepers talking different shop talk. Also area schools art departments had beautiful painted hives that were being sold in a silent auction. This was accompanied by a various plant booth. Excellent ideas!
Frankfort KY beekeeping school
Hand Painted Beehives Frankfort Ky
colorful beehives in Frankfort Ky
Donated hives Bluegrass beekeeping School
Next class I attended “Non Grafting Queen Rearing” was presented by John Pace out of Glassgow Kentucky. John’s hyped excitement brought the small room of 40 to the edge of their seats with the different variations of queen rearing techniques, as well as different types of tools and methods that can be used. You can tell John was one that has been there done that wrote the book type of person. Experience shined through with John.
The last class of the day was with the KY State Apiarist Sean Burgess. “Making Nucs for Colony Increase” was the topic of this class presented. The class went over several techniques of ways to do splits, queen rearing, drone breeding selection, location of hive setups, timeframes during splits, as well as other helpful tips from the field. As always, Sean is a very experienced professional in this field and is always pushing Kentucky forward in various beekeeping topics. He is extremely active with behind the scenes regulations in Kentucky and is helping KY beekeepers in ways that wears me out from thinking about all the tasks he does. If you want to know something about beekeeping, then ask Sean, he is the “go to” guy. Highly respected!
The last session wrapped up around 3-330pm, which included the winners of the silent auction beehives, the door prizes (Thanks Tammy Horn for the many signed books you donated!). About 3/4 of the crowd was there at this time, but all in all this was a wonderful event to attend. All in all, the location was wonderful; it was very well organized, great door prizes, excellent lectures from experienced veteran beekeepers. The only downfall I had was there were some rooms that were too small and with so many people, there were some that had to sit in the floor areas. But the organizers can look at the positive side of this and pat themselves on the back to show that they brought in the crowd!
Hope to see you next year!