January 27, 2024

Olive Free Library – West Shokan 10AM – 4PM

Snow date – February 3, 2024

Note: This is a free seminar, and in fairness to others, we hope you are committed to show up if you enroll.

Intro2016Why it is important to start right!

Our current estimate is roughly 3,500 – 4,000 packages of bees are imported into the Hudson Valley each year. After talking to so many of these purchasers roughly less than half of these survive their first winter. These packages come from Georgia, California, Texas, Florida, and generally points south. These providers do their best to assure good quality bees and queens but given the scale of operations some things must be overlooked in the process. There is little reason to bring packages into the Hudson Valley at the end of March. Many of the purchasers are first year beginners who know little about bees, have no drawn comb, and have no experience in feeding and caring for their new colony.

Packages were designed to be disposable bees shipped from the southern states to Canadian prairies. These bees, until recently, were expected to raise a crop of honey and after the harvest they were left to face the severe winter and perish. As the price of bees has increased, folks started figuring out ways to over winter their bees and have largely started to raise their own acclimated bees. The package bees are largely comprised of bees returning from their pollination runs in the almond valley of California. Three pounds of bees are shaken off into a box and supplied with a mated queen, some sugar syrup, and sent off to try to succeed in a new climate and location. The exposure from disease vectors of the migratory hives to the genetic cesspool of under inspected colonies, has done more to set back the bees than perhaps any one other factor. These bees return home and are built up to where they can be packaged and shipped out.

What this workshop will cover

Our goal is long term sustainability through education, and breeding improvement. For this workshop we will focus on how to start beekeeping in a sustainable way. Becoming self-sufficient in expanding your apiary with quality acclimatized stock is key to success. In addition to covering the basics of honeybee biology and colony management, we will provide insight on the best options for keeping healthy bees in the Hudson Valley region.

Topics include:

  • Honeybee caste and races
  • Stock selection
  • Bee stings / Apitherapy
  • Bees and neighbors
  • Protective gear
  • Hive design
  • Predators and pests
  • Hive placement
  • Installing bees
  • Signs of a healthy hive
  • Diseases & Treatments

This free seminar is provided by Hudson Valley Hives BeeGroup and the Olive Free Library.

The format will be pretty informal. There will be a presentation and plenty of hands on demonstrations. Open discussion and questions are highly encouraged. Please register so that we can get a feel for how many folks to prepare for and be able to contact you if things change (weather, etc).


  1. Connie Kieltyka

    Rob is a friendly and great teacher! I recommend his class

  2. Angela Rose Voulgarelis

    The Intro To Beekeeping course was great. Very informative yet casual; engaging without being overwhelming. I appreciated Rob’s approach to local beekeeping, and am excited to start with my own hives in the Spring. It was also refreshing to know that one doesn’t have to spend a fortune on equipment when so many DIY options are available – for swarm traps, hives, etc. Rob helped demystify a lot of the process of backyard beekeeping, and made the information accessible to the lay person. I am an absolute beginner and I felt like I learned a lot from the class. I highly recommend it.

  3. Leslie Lansing

    If you are new to beekeeping or thinking about taking on beekeeping, this is the site for you. I will be receiving my first two packages of bees the end of March 2015 and feel that I am prepared and ready thanks to the info I garnered at the Beginning Beekeeping Class and a couple of meetings I have attended. I will probably have tons of questions as I begin this journey but at least I know I will have a safety net with Rob Overton at the helm. He is a font of knowledge about bees and always responds if you have a question. I am so glad I came upon this group and will not be taking this journey alone.

  4. Cynthia de Figueiredo

    The beginning beekeeping workshop is incredible. I attended both sessions of the beginning beekeeping workshops led by Rob Overton. He is an EXCELLENT lecturer. I left with my brain exploding from all of the information. In addition to topics such as be casts, strains, hive location, and equipment, Mr. Overton brought to our attention unexpected information like a bee’s defensive reaction to the odor of bananas. Who knew?

    Until a few months ago, I never dreamed that I could become a beekeeper. I got more from 2 half-day lecturers than I have gotten from a few months of reading. These lecturers have given me enough knowledge about equipment and husbandry practices to at least get me started. The other valuable tool that I took away from the workshop was knowledge of a support system in the form of a beekeeping community/organization. That alone was priceless. This workshop is worth its weight in gold.

  5. Gale and Warren Van Baaren

    By taking this class, I have the confidence that I can start beekeeping and succeed. This class provided much needed information about everything specific to bees. I would recommend this class before getting into beekeeping. I think this is an excellent course. It equips you with the skills necessary to feel confident in working your hives and being around bees. I would highly recommend this course.

  6. Ellen Stringer

    Are you teaching any classes after the March 5 class in Pine Hill which I am told is now too full? Where can I find out about these classes? Is it too late to start a colony in the Shandaken area this year.
    Thank you.

    • admin


      We offer the Intro course once a year at the Olive Library in January. We had a special request from the Pine Hill Library this year, that is why there is one in March. It is getting late to start this year, but not too late yet. We do have a monthly meeting at the Olive Library where there are always people willing to help and give advice to new beekeepers.
      Best way to find out of our courses and workshops is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter -> http://hvhives.com/newsletter/

  7. Eleanor Lunn

    I attended Saturday’s workshop on beekeeping. I learned a great deal from Rob, a knowledgeable bee expert and an excellent teacher! His slides were amazing.

  8. Bill Reilly

    I took part in the workshop on January 8th, 2017. Rob did a great job at presenting and demonstrating things for the beginner and novice beekeepers. I am a beginner and got a lot out of the presentation. He answered many questions and I appreciated the questions from the novice and experienced beekeepers. Being new there are things I just don’t know what to ask. I hope to attend the monthly meetings at the Olive Library. Buzz Buzz….

  9. Leslie Barna

    I would love to attend the Intro workshop, but cannot make it this Saturday. Would you tell me if the introductory workshop is offered again this winter/spring?

    Many thanks,
    Leslie Barna

  10. Sarah Ford

    I wish I had known about this in time. Is there any chance it might be offered again soon? I am eager to get started, but I want to make sure I start right! There is so much I don’t know!

    • Rob

      Hi Sarah,

      Unfortunately the Intro to Beekeeping seminar is only held once a year. Upcoming education opportunities will be offered in our next newsletter.

  11. Carla Fjeld

    Ditto what Sarah said…I can’t be there on January 14 either, but am interested and want to learn beekeeping. When additional classes or seminars are planned, please let me know and count me in. Many thanks!

  12. Carol A. Silverman

    Introduction to Bee Keeping was an outstanding workshop. Rob’s presentation was exceptionally well organized and it included valuable references that I found indispensable. His insights regarding bee keeping are based on years of experience and the scientific method. He is clearly a scholar. I would encourage others to take this workshop; it will be well worth your time.

  13. Anna Serota

    Comment *This was a great class full of valuable information. I now feel I have the confidence to start a hive this next year, and the resources to do it. Rob was very patient dealing with tons of questions, and had an answer to them all! I highly recommend this class!

  14. Monica H

    The Introduction to Beekeeping workshop was really terrific! So much fascinating information, and Rob is very generous in sharing his knowledge and answering questions about both the practical and theoretical aspects of beekeeping. I learned so much already and am eager to continue exploring whether beekeeping might be feasible for me.

  15. Tim jones

    Comment very informative and presented in an aproachable manner.bob answered question after question with patience.he is an encylopedia of bee keeping information.thank you mr.o.

  16. Gina Carena

    Wonderful workshop. Rob is so dedicated to making it understandable without minimizing the commitment. Encouraging us to become critical thinkers in the process
    The atmosphere is very informal, questions encouraged, no matter how basic.

  17. Brandy

    Hi, will there bee another full day intro workshop this year?

    • Rob

      Hi Brandy, The full day seminar is only offered once a year. We do have hands-on monthly meetings that are a good way to get experience and exposure with the bees.


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