Eastern Apicultural Society’s 65th Annual Short Course & Conference

August 3-7, 2020 at University of Maine, Orono

Excitement is building as word spreads about the Eastern Apicultural Society’s annual conference that will be held at UMO this August. Over 600 beekeepers from the US and beyond attended last year’s event, and the lure of summertime in Maine is expected to draw a similar number.

Short Course and Main Conference The five-day event is divided into two parts: the first runs all day Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon, with a wide variety of approximately one-hour workshops and lectures in both classrooms and the apiary. Different tracks adjusted for skill level or interests are offered: beginner, intermediate, advanced, intermediate-advanced, queen rearing, microscopy, native bees and more. This year there will be wider range of topics such as beeswax crafts, cooking with honey, mead making, kids & bees, photography, pollen identification, beelining and preparing for honey shows. The Main Conference is held Wednesday through Friday, featuring prominent keynote speakers in the mornings and afternoon talks and demos by some of the foremost experts in the beekeeping world. Options to attend are daily, Short Course only, Main Conference only, or the full five days.

A pop-up apiary with multiple hive styles provides observational and hands-on opportunities to improve your skills in the bee yard. Professional “bee wranglers” lead daylong demonstrations on a variety of topics such as queen rearing, diseases and pest management, varroa monitoring and even smoker lighting.

The EAS Honey Show is about so much more than honey: it’s actually seven shows, with multiple classes in each: Extracted Honey, Comb Honey, Beeswax, Mead & Honey Beer, Honey Cookery, Black Jar Tasting, Gadgets, Arts & Crafts, and Photography. Certified judges award up to six ribbons in each subcategory, improving the odds of winning an award.

Honey Exchange Bring a jar or more of your favorite honey to trade for an equal number of jars from across America and beyond.

Vendors large and small from across the country are open for business Wednesday through Friday. It’s a great opportunity to stock up! In addition to retail beekeeping supplies you’ll find manufacturers, honey bee-themed gifts, jewelry and clothing, and bookstores with author signings.

Children’s Program Sarah Red-Laird is renowned for her Kids’ Beekeeping Academy, where 10-12 year old children spend a day of fun and educational immersion. During the morning hours, they get an in-depth look into honey bees and their vital role in our food system. The afternoon is spent up close and personal with honey bee hives and native bee observations.

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Sarah will also facilitate a workshop for MAIC’s Summer Teachers Institute on the UMO campus. Teachers will receive a bounty of ideas for student hands-on projects and materials about the honey bee, to integrate into various subject and grade level curriculums. (CEUs are available for this).

Events & Excursions As a break from learning in the classroom and apiary, field trips will be offered on some afternoons, such visits to Swan’s Honey’s commercial beekeeping operation and Humble Abodes, our state’s largest woodenware manufacturer.

Expect some great evenings of entertainment, including a Story Concert. You may end up either laughing or wiping tears away after listening to other beekeepers share their personal tales. We’ll also be testing our bee trivia knowledge at “Buzzing with the Bees.”

A classic Maine lobster bake and BBQ picnic on Wednesday night will be followed by the ever-popular Bee Olympics, during which you can watch or take part in the madcap competitions. Thursday evening’s buffet and auction gives everyone a chance to enjoy socializing and bidding on (mostly) bee-related items to raise funds for honey bee research. Finally, major awards are handed out at the closing Banquet and Awards ceremony on Friday.

Examinations for Master Beekeeper certification are held on Tuesday and Wednesday during the conference. The four parts include written, oral, laboratory and field. The deadline for applications is June 1st, and those applying should have a minimum of five years as a serious beekeeper. More Master Beekeeper information can be found on the EAS website: http://www.easternapiculture.org/master-beekeepers/certification.html

A great number of volunteers will be needed to make the conference a success, and we welcome anyone interested in joining a planning committee or helping out on-site in August, to contact director.me@easternapiculture.org.