Class Descriptions

We have made an attempt to help guide the attendees of the bee school in making the decision on what class to attend by grouping the classes according to the audience type for each class.  But use this as a ‘general guide’ – you (of course) are free to attend any class that peeks your interest.  The classes are listed as they appear on the schedule (read top down, left to right).


Beginning Beekeeping Tract - These classes are designed to help you make the best choices for GETTING STARTED.  A “prospective beekeeper” should probably plan on attending ALL of these classes.

Advanced Beekeeping Tract – These classes are targeted at the beekeeper who has a bit of experience under their belt.  Both prospective and experienced beekeepers will also find significant value in the information presented in these classes.

Laws affecting beekeeping and beekeepers – These courses are discuss the various legal aspects surrounding beekeeping.  As such, the information applies to everyone.

Business Aspects of Beekeeping - These courses deal with the “money” side of beekeeping.  They are designed for the beekeeper who is thinking about “taking the next step” into becoming a sideliner or even a commercial beekeeper.

General Interest Beekeeping – Classes with no color code are those that will appeal to beekeepers of all experience levels.


Outdoor Event Lawn

Hive Box Building (BVBeeks members – 9:00am – 12:00pm) – A “hands-on” area to help those who took advantage of the discounted hive kits offered by Mann Lake.  The goal is for you to have the kits you purchased completely assembled for you to take home.

Lighting your Smoker (BVBeeks Youth Mentors - 1:00pm-5:00pm) – A demonstration on how to light your smoker so that it stays lit.  Also included is a discussion on why to use a smoker (as opposed to other things that are sometimes tried to calm bees down).

Live Hive Inspections (Eric Zylman 1:00pm -4:00 pm) – You get to put on a bee suit and get a live in-person experience with a real bee hive.  The process of doing a hive inspection is explained as it occurs.


AGLS building, room 110

Urban Beekeeping (Chuck Reburn – 8:00pm) – Beekeeping inside a city neighborhood comes with a set of issues & concerns rural beekeepers don’t have.  Understanding how to find your city’s ordinances, HOA regulations, and simply how to be a good neighbor are some of the topics covered in this class.

Bottling & Selling Honey Laws (Chuck Reburn – 9:30am) – Some beekeepers are required to use a commercial kitchen to bottle honey while others can do it in their kitchen.  Bottled honey also has requirements of what must appear on the label.  This class will help you understand what you need to do in order to bottle & sell the honey you get from your hives.

Top Bar Hives (Tanya Phillips – 10:45pm) – This class will delve into the aspects of beekeeping that are unique to Top Bar Hives.  This is a 90-minute long class

Slovenian Beekeeping (Robin Young - 1:00pm) – What factors do you need to consider in where to place your hives?  What kind of hive stand do I set the hives on?  Is this property suitable for a hive?

Chemical Free Beekeeping (Les Crowder – 2:30pm) – A discussion of the how’s & why’s of keeping bees without the use of chemical treatments.


AGLS building, room 113

IPM: Integrated Pest Management (Bill Baxter – 8:00am) – Do you know what IPM stands for? Do pesticides have any place in IPM strategies? Can you use IPM techniques to control any honey bee pest, or just varroa? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then come to this course to correct common misconceptions and learn more!

Beekeeping Laws (Bill Baxter – 9:30am) – What is required in order to be a beekeeper in the state of Texas?  Hear it straight from the people who enforce the laws, the folks at the Texas Apiary Inspection Service.

Varroa Mite Testing Methods (Robin Silva – 11:00am) – One of the basic keys to dealing with Varroa Mites is to first know the infestation level inside each hive.  There are several methods for test this – this class explores the various methods.

Fights About Mites (Ryan Giescke – 1:00pm) – Varroa Mites are undoubtedly the #1 honey bee health issue.  This class lays the foundation for understanding these pests, their epidemiology, investigates the many possible causes for their infestation.

One million ways to kill your hive (and how to avoid them) (Ryan Giescke – 1:00pm) – While the title is a bit morbid (and likely a bit overstated numerically), this talk will address some of the things we can do as beekeepers that inadvertently harm our colony's odds of survival; if you want to keep bees alive, knowing what kills them is a great place to start!

Expert Round Table (Juliana Rangel, Tanya Phillips, Clint Weaver, & E.T. Ash - 4:00am) – Throughout the day we will be collecting YOUR questions to ask our panel of experts.  During this hour, the experts will answer these questions (and if there is time, field questions from the audience)


AGLS building, room 114

Selling Bees & Nucs (E.T. Ash – 8:00am) – What is required in order to sell Nucs or Queens to other beekeepers?  What are the TAIS requirements you need to follow?  When and How do you actually go about making nucs and queens so they can be available for sale?

Catching & Keeping Swarms (Brandon Fehrenkamp – 9:30am) – This class talks about what you need to not only find & catch swarms, but how to KEEP them in your hive once you have them.

What Beekeepers Should Understand about Bee Removals (Brandon Fehrenkamp – 11:00am) – This class will detail not only the techniques & tools frequently used in performing a “cut out” removal, but also the dangers, laws, & liability that are often associated with removing bees from buildings.

Getting bees out of a tree w/o cutting: Forced Abscond (Steve Butler – 1:00pm) – A Forced Abscond is a specific method used to get bees out of structures where preforming a “cut-out” is not possible (such as a tree you cannot cut down, brick columns, & decorative art sculptures).  These usually require only very basic tools and patience, making this method available to a wider range of beekeepers.

Medical Beekeeping: Apitherapy  (Robin Young – 2:30pm) –  This class talks about the medical aspects of beekeeping – everything from the treatment of stings & anaphylactic shock, the uses of honey & propolis, to using bee venom as a treatment for arthritis.

Pitfalls, Reflections, and Thoughts on being a First Year Beekeeper (Katherine Sherrod – 4:00pm)– The story of my first year in beekeeping where I detail both significant failures and insights into how to avoid those same mistakes by knowing yourself AND your purpose in beekeeping. If you know those two things, it can save you from a lot of crazy internet advice and chasing your own tail!


AGLS building, room 115

Beginning Beekeeping 1 (James & Cheri Elam 8:00am) – Information such as the differences between the types of bees in our area, identifying the types of bees inside a hive & the roles/functions they provide, & some basic bee biology.

Beginning Beekeeping 2 (James & Cheri Elam 9:30am) – This class will help the new prospective beekeeper make their own choices in deciding “What kind of hive do I use (Top Bar?  Langstroth?  Other?)”, “How (and when) do I get my bees (package? Nuc? Full Hive?  Swarm?)”

Apiary Setup (James & Chari Elam 11:00am) – What factors do you need to consider in where to place your hives?  What kind of hive stand do I set the hives on?  Is this property suitable for a hive?

Pests and Diseases (Chris Barnes 1:00pm) – This is a BASIC introduction into the most common types of pests & diseases a new beekeeper might encounter, as well as steps to take to help prevent problems and treatment options when problems arise.

Troubleshooting a Failing Hive (Lauren Ward – 2:30pm) – Sooner or later, all beekeepers will lose a hive.  Being able to learn from the hive loss is the major key to being more successful in the future.

Effective Hive Inspections (Robin Silva – 4:00pm) – This class teaches how to INSPECT a hive rather than just OBSERVE a hive. The focus is on assessing hive health through a step by step approach.

AGLS building, room 116

Equipment needs ("what would I order if I was starting over?") (Robin Silva - 8:00am) – This class talks about the choices a new beekeeper faces in deciding on things such as protective clothing (bee suits), smoker, & the seeming overwhelming array of tools available.  What do you NEED?  What might be “nice to have”?  What is out there that you really DON’T need to spend money on (at least, not yet)?

Wildflower Planting Guide (Gene Stalzer – 9:30am) – A discussion of the types of seeds & seed mixtures for planting wildflower areas, including methods for successful seed germination.

Honey Bee Plants for Native Texas Landscapes (Becky Bender – 11:00am) – This program uses bee biology and foraging habits as the foundation for choosing plants for landscapes.  Learn how the science of pollen analysis provides clues to plants our bees forage and habitat worth conserving.  The focus is on native Texas plants that provide attractive, nutritious and responsible bee forage for all seasons.

Fruit Tree Growing for beekeepers (John Panzarella – 1:00pm) – Beekeeping and growing fruit trees are often complimentary activites.  John will talk about the methods for growing & grafting fruit trees, with a specific bend toward trees that are productive in Texas.

Beekeeper Year (Ashley Ralph - 4:00pm) – What kinds of things does a new beekeeper need to do AFTER they get their bees?  When do you harvest honey?  When do you add or remove space?  What time of year does a beekeeper do different tasks?  What kind of problems do hives have during different times of the year (and what are those solutions)?

Basic Swarm Prevention & Splits (James & Chari Elam - 4:00pm) – How do you know when your hive is about to swarm?  What can you do to prevent the hive from swarming?


AGLS building, room 117

Bee Business Options (Ashley Ralph – 8:00am) – First steps to understanding what options are available to recouping some of the investment you have made into your bees.  It’s not just about selling honey ya’ know.

Beekeeping on a Budget (Justin Russell – 9:30am) – How to do more with less money and start a beekeeping business while keeping your day job.  This is a sideliner’s journey into commercial beekeeping with innovative ideas on how to grow with less.

Getting Your Honey's Worth: Marketing & Selling Your Honey (Nicole Burgers – 11:00am) – You've extracted honey, but now what? Nicole Buergers from Bee2Bee Honey Collective will be discussing how to package, label, market and sell your honey. We'll decipher the new laws regarding selling in Texas as well as some best practices for the hobbyist and sideliner beekeeper..

Records, Finances, & Taxes for the Hobbyist beekeeper (Dalene Barnes – 1:00pm) – There are several areas of record keeping that are useful for a beekeeper to maintain (even for a hobbyist with just a couple of hives).  This class will discuss the kinds of records you may find useful for hive inspections, income tax records, & how to purchase beekeeping supplies free of the state sales tax.

Maximizing Honey Production (Clint Weaver – 2:30pm) – Tips and techniques you can utilize in order to increase the honey production from your hives.  Specifically targeted toward hobbyist and sideliners.

When, Why, & How to Re-queen (Liz Walsh – 4:00pm) – Do you know how to requeen a colony if you can't find the original queen? When is the best time to requeen a colony? What is requeening a colony anyway? Queen management is an essential part of all beekeeping operations, so some learn about when, why, and how to requeen your colonies!


AGLS building, room 129

Making Mead (Jason Shryock – 8:00am) – Mead, sometimes called “honey wine”, is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops.  This class will demonstrate the different ways you can produce your own mead in your own home.

Ag Exemption (Dennis Herbert – 9:45am) –  In 2012, the state of Texas changed the laws to allow Beekeeping to qualify as a agricultural activity which can qualify for an "Ag Valuation" (frequently called an “Ag exemption”) for your property taxes.  This class details exactly what this law requires, presented by the man who helped write the law.    This is a 90-minute long class

Talking w/ your county tax appraiser (Scott & Sue Untied – 11:00am) – This is a “follow-up” to the Ag Exemption class taught by Dennis Herbert.  This session will help you understand what the tax appraiser is looking for in order to grant the Ag Exemption.  You will know more about how to prepare, what to bring and what to say in order to get the tax valuation you want.  He will cover both the initial appointment and the ‘protest’ process.

Products of the Hive (Michelle Kerr-Pankonien – 1:00pm) – There is more available to you from your hive than simply honey.  Learn how to make creamed honey, infused honey, or products your bee’s wax.

Youth Round Table (BVBeeks Youth – 2:30pm) – A discussion and Q&A involving the youth who have been actively participating in the BVBeeks Youth Program.  This would be an excellent class for the "younger beekeepers" to attend - hear about Youth beekeeping from others your age.

Extracting & Bottling Honey (Shelly Rice & Nicole Burgers – 4:00pm) – This class is a demonstration with lots of practical info.  We will talk about how to get honey supers from the hive and demonstrate how to uncap and spin out the honey.


AGLS building, room 132

Raising Queens for yourself (Dr. Juliana Rangel – 8:00am) – Re-queening hives is a common task that many beekeepers use to maintain the health of their hive.  But if you have more than a couple of hives, this can get a somewhat expensive.  This class will show you how to raise your own queens.

Biology & Behavior of Varroa (Taylor Reams – 9:30am) – This class is for everyone who wants to learn more about the infamous Varroa destructor. We will go over the biology of the mite as well as the behavior within colonies. The first step in defeating your enemy is knowing your enemy.

Bee Communication - pheromones & how it affects the hive (Lauren Ward – 9:30am) – there are dozens (hundreds?) of pheromones produced by honey bees.  Understanding the major ones and the messages they communicate to the rest of the hive is a key to managing hives more effectively.

Biology of Queen mating (Dr. Juliana Rangel – 1:00pm) – in this class we will have some basic overview of some of the ways that people can raise queens in their small beekeeping operations.

Honey Bee Nutrition (Pierre Lau – 2:30pm) – Many hobbyist beekeepers have their hives located in urban environments. Pierre’s research at the TAMU Honey Bee Lab focused on pollen sources available to honey bees in this environment.

“Who got me Sick?” (Alex Payne – 4:00pm) – This class focuses on looking at the transmission routes of honey bee virus.