Back to Basics: Training the Trainers at the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference
We successfully conducted a training event at the Eastern Apicultural Society short course for extension agents and master beekeepers. The purpose of this training was to disseminate the latest knowledge and technologies to promote bee health to those who will further deliver them to beekeepers. This training was held at the 2010 annual conference of the Eastern Apicultural Society, which holds the largest yearly gathering of beekeepers on the eastern seaboard. Our objective was to train extension agents, Master Beekeepers, and other outreach officials at the week-long conference in key issues concerning the industry. For agents or other inexperienced officials, we offered trainings on basic beekeeping at the Introductory Short Course during the first two days of the conference. For experienced Master Beekeepers or agents, we offered advanced trainings on varroa IPM, queen rearing and bee breeding, CCD, and the Africanized honey bee. For all participants, we provided a series of presentations and workshops from relevant experts during the latter part of the week.
Objective 1: Educate novice extension agents in basic beekeeping techniques to create new conduits for apiculture outreach.
Objective 2: Provide hands-on training to participants in applying new control methods for varroa mites so that they may further teach varroa IPM strategies to beekeepers.
Objective 3: In conjunction with other ongoing extension projects, provide workshops on queen rearing and clinics on bee breeding (including instrumental insemination) to advanced beekeepers.
Objective 4: Hold a break-out session on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), including updates from the leading researchers and a round-table discussion involving apiculture officials, academics, and commercial beekeepers.
Objective 5: Develop and deliver a comprehensive plan for public education of Africanized honey bees (AHB), the so-called “killer” bees, in preparation of their predicted invasion and spread along the eastern seaboard.
Objective 6: Consolidate slide sets, handouts, and other materials for each participant to utilize in their own outreach efforts for delivery of learned information to their local beekeeper clientele.
The 2010 EAS Short Course was the largest and most attended in its 55-year history, with over 220 participants. Of these, 40 were previously identified County Extension Agents or Master Beekeepers from surrounding states. These focus individuals were provided handouts and electronic materials of the very presentations and topics that were provided during the advanced track of the short course (Objective 6). The advanced track, among many other topics, highlighted the importance of IPM for varroa-mite management (Objective 2), which was among the most popular seminars of the series. The introductory track was also well attended (approximately 75 new beekeepers), including some extension agents without previous experience with apiculture (Objective 1). The PI personally conducted a workshop on honey bee instrumental insemination (Objective 3), and two of the plenary speakers were internationally recognized experts in Colony Collapse Disorder (Objective 4) and Africanized bees (Objective 5).
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The positive impacts of this training were evident in the short course evaluations. Insufficient time has elapsed to record any feedback from subsequent trainings from the participatory agents or master beekeepers, but many have indicated their plans to incorporate the materials and knowledge from the short course into their outreach activities. These data will be collected and consolidated to gauge the continuing impacts of the training activities across the region.
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7613
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7613
Office Phone: 9195151660