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About The Author


Sharon Kitchens

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse. In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more. Sharon can be contacted at or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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The Root with Sharon Kitchens
Posted: September 17, 2014

Time to Sign Up for Beekeeping School

Medium frame of bees with comb.

Medium frame of bees with comb.

As I prepared to welcome pollinators to my backyard the more reading, attending open hives and speaking with experienced beekeepers I did the more fundamental understanding of beekeeping management I developed. According to Ross Conrad, a beekeeper’s lack of knowledge is probably the single greatest cause of colony demise. A novice beekeeper should make every effort to learn as much as possible from a variety of sources in an effort to reduce the margin of error.

As someone who attended one of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s beginner beekeeping schools I am a strong advocate for them.  Not only did I learn a lot, I also met fellow beekeepers and my future mentor J.

The fall and winter UMaine will hold beginner and intermediate beekeeping schools at the UMaine Extension Cumberland County office at 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

Master Beekeepers Jack Hildreth, Peter Richardson and Chris Rogers will be instructors for both beginner schools. One will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. on five consecutive Thursdays from Oct. 16 through Nov. 13, 2014. The second will be held at the same time on five consecutive Thursdays from Feb. 5 through March 5, 2015. The $100 fee for each beginner school includes a textbook and reference notebook. The beginner school is suitable for beekeepers with one to two years of experience.

Hildreth and Richardson will be instructors for the intermediate beekeeping school, offered 6:30-8:30 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 10, 2015. The $140 fee includes a textbook and reference notebook. The intermediate school is designed for beekeepers with two or more years of experience. Topics include how to keep bee colonies healthy and thriving in Maine, as well as swarm prevention, honey production and colony maximization.

For more information or to register, visit

Sign up, read the materials, attend the classes, take a lot of notes, ask questions, study, and you will be on your way to becoming a successful beekeeper. I am thinking of signing up for the intermediate school. Have fun fellow beeks!!

A frame of bees from a summer inspection of the hives.

A frame of bees from a summer inspection of the hives.

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