Are you interested in becoming a beekeeper?

Flowers of witch hazels are excellent for early spring pollinators. CONTRIBUTED/PAMELA BENNETT
Flowers of witch hazels are excellent for early spring pollinators. CONTRIBUTED/PAMELA BENNETT

Have you thought of becoming a beekeeper? Or are you just interested in learning more about beekeeping? Join Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener volunteers Fran and Tom Davidson in their upcoming beekeeping course.

The Davidsons have been keeping bees for years and their award-winning honey is outstanding. Their teaching is also outstanding as they have taught this course for the last three years with great success.

During the seven-hour, two-day class, you will learn the hobby of beekeeping. In addition, if you are interested in making this a business, you will pick up tips on how to do this as well.

Tom and Fran are also certified Journeyman Beekeepers with the Ohio State Beekeepers Association. Journeyman is the second level in the Master Beekeeping Program. This level includes passing an exam as well as maintaining the level of Master Beekeeping among other criteria.

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In this class you will explore honeybee biology and the relationship between the beekeeper and the honeybee. You will learn about the different types of available pollen and how to protect your honeybees.

After completion of this course, you will be equipped to raise bees this year and beyond. Tom and Fran currently maintain 40 bee colonies in Clark County.

The cost of the program is $35 and includes a textbook. If you don’t want the textbook or are a couple taking the course together and need only one textbook, the cost is $25.

For more information and to register for this class, go to: http://go.osu.edu/clarkbees

Honeybees are fascinating and are out foraging already. If you are interested in attracting honeybees and other pollinators, make sure you have plenty of pollen available throughout the season.

It’s easy during the summer to have lots of pollen available because of all of the plants that are blooming in the landscape and flower beds. However, during the early spring and later in the fall, pollen may be scarce.

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A good rule of thumb for planting for pollinators is to have at least three different species of plants blooming in each season. For instance, right now I have witch hazel, spring-blooming bulbs such as crocus, hyacinth and daffodils in bloom.

Later this spring I will have a few other early-spring blooming perennials such as creeping phlox and candytuft. I have plenty in the summer, and for fall, I have added plants such as sedum, asters and seven son flower (Heptacodium miconioides). All of these are loaded with pollinators.

A few weeks ago, I talked about growing degree days (GDD) and made a very large error in the formula for determining GDD. I left out the fact that you must divide the high and low temperature by two to get the average temperature .

Here is the correct formula: the low temperature for the day plus the high temperature for the day divided by two. If the number is above 50, that’s how many GDD have accumulated for that day.

As of Wednesday, March 24, 2021 my area code (45502) was at 66 GDD and red maples were in full bloom. For the GDD site and a full explanation go to: http://go.osu.edu/gdds

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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