In March of 2015, Purdue Extension Floyd County started offering beginning beekeeping classes. These first classes were met with much enthusiasm! The first class that was offered filled with over 30 people, so it had to be split in two to offer the best learning experience possible for all attendees. This class then led the way to a three-part series.
To better serve the needs of the area, in the fall of 2015 it was determined that teaching hives needed to be installed at the Purdue Extension Floyd County office. Through a grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and donations from local beekeepers and the public at large, we were able to raise $14,000 to install a bee yard and to create other programming around pollinators.
Once our bee yard was installed in spring 2016, the first Beekeeping A-Z class started. This class is a two-year program where participants learn about managing bees and how to turn what most consider a hobby into a business.
During the two years, participants are shown how to extract honey from a hive, bottle the honey, and label the honey so it can be sold at Farmers Markets. They also learn the components of a business plan and how they can get insurance for their hives.
In the winter months, we focus on making finished products such as candles, soap and lip balm from the beeswax. After the class is complete many participants have decided if beekeeping is a right path for them or if they need to wait a while until they have more time to make this a viable business option.