Extension offers course in beekeeping basics

LITTLE ROCK – Beekeeping basics, one of the Cooperative Extension Service’s most requested courses, is being offered in-person this spring. The three-part course teaches beginning beekeepers everything they need to know to get started with honey bees.

Classes will be held in-person on April 11, 18 and 25 from 6-9 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Service state office, 2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock.

“There’s no experience necessary,” Jon Zawislak, assistant professor of apiculture and urban entomology with University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “This is a perfect course if you have zero experience or if you’re a first-year beekeeper.”

Honey harvested from the hives can be a source of income for beekeepers, and the bees help increase crop yields through pollination. More than 100 crops are pollinated by honey bees, including fruits and vegetables, and forage for dairy and beef cattle.

Zawislak has been teaching the beekeeping short course since 2009 and regularly gets requests from beginning hobbyists. In the course, participants will learn about the structure and function of the beehive, essential tools for beekeeping and learn basic honeybee biology and behaviors. Zawislak also covers colony inspection and pest management.

“We will also cover all the seasonal tasks – harvesting honey, preparing hives for winter, and keeping colonies healthy,” he added.

The cost is $30, and seating is limited. To register, contact the Pulaski County Extension Office at 501-340-6650. For more information about honey bees, visit uaex.uada.edu/bees.

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