by Tish Dutson
During the winter and spring months, Maine has offered a number of beekeep- ing classes at various locations, but if you did not happen to live within a com- mutable distance of those classes, you had no other option…until now. At long last, rural Maine beekeepers have a resource for furthering their knowledge of beekeeping through online beekeeping courses for both beginner and advanced beekeepers. Enter the Beekeeper Education and Engagement System or “BEES” from Dr. David Tarpy of North Carolina State University. It’s a great new resource for anyone who is unable to attend local beekeeping classes for whatever reason.
BEES is entirely internet-based and runs on a common teaching platform called “Moodle” which is very user-friendly and simple in function and design. The entire purpose of the BEES network is to facilitate a virtual learning community for beekeepers by providing content and resources for continuing education. It is neither designed nor intended to be a Master Beekeeper Program but rather to facilitate education about bees and beekeeping.
The structure of the BEES network is broken into three ascending levels of complexity (Beginner, Advanced, and Ambassador) and three general areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management, and the honey bee indus- try). These three courses — consisting of almost six full hours of lectures — are ideal for individuals who wish to learn on their own, groups who wish to teach each other, or entire clubs who wish to view the content together by projecting the lectures at their meetings (there is a discount for groups of 30 or more).
Lectures at the advanced level delve into greater depth on each topic and help explore some of the more interesting and pressing issues facing beekeepers today.
David Tarpy, who launched the BEES System, has been an Associate Professor of Entomology and the Extension Apiculturist at North Carolina State University since 2003, receiving his BS from Hobart College, an MS from Bucknell University, his PhD from University of California at David, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University.
For more information and to view a video tutorial of the BEES network, visit online at: http://cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/apiculture/BEES.html