“Bee Sustainable”

WVBA Spring Conference

March 20-21, 2020

 Randolph County Armory in Elkins, WV

Hosted by Barbour County Beekeepers Association, Highlands Apicultural Association and Upshur County Beekeepers Association

 The WVBA Spring Conference will take place March 20-21, 2020 at the Randolph County Armory along Route 48/33 between Elkins and Buckhannon. The clubs from Barbour, Upshur and Highlands have been working diligently over the last year to bring you an excellent lineup of keynote speakers, workshops, vendors, good food and a great experience.

The goal of the conference is to make sure you understand sustainable beehive management. This will have a positive impact on your bees and on your finances! By learning to rear your own queens, create value-added products, and encourage bee health, you create your overall success as a beekeeper.


Pre-register for a reduced ticked price. The ticket price of $40 includes all speakers and activities on both Friday and Saturday, plus a buffet lunch and snacks on Saturday. Walk-up registration fee is $45. Lunch for walk-up registrants may be limited.

Pre-Registration by mail must be postmarked by March 13th, 2020. Online registration will begin January 15th at wvbeekeepers.org and will end on March 13th.

Testing for all levels in the Master Beekeeping Program will be available on Friday beginning at 1pm. Walk-ons will not be eligible for testing. Candidates must register in advance with Steve Roth using the application found at wvbeekeepers.org or by emailing steve.roth@comcast.net. Registration closes March 13th.

Friday evening will kick off with a social gathering, sponsored by Healthberry Farm. Enjoy a tasting of their Honey River Meads as well as Native Bees presentation by Dr. Matt McKinney. Saturday will be full of educational experiences, a chance to shop with excellent vendors, catching up with or meeting new friends, and much more.

Please review more details in this packet for information on activities and opportunities!


Mel Disselkoen “Hive Management for Sustainability”

Mel Disselkoen was born on a farm in a Dutch settlement in South Dakota. He grew up with an independent farming mentality of hard work and creative problem solving. A Master Beekeeper, he has kept bees for over 40 years and is familiar with all facets of beekeeping. Today, Mel enjoys observing honeybee behavior and teaching beekeepers how to use his OTS queen rearing method to self-sufficiently reach their objectives. A creationist and naturalist, Mel sees the honeybee as an exquisitely-designed being that unites the plant and animal kingdoms and therefore he is devoted to its well-being and protection.

Dr. Kirsten S. Traynor — “Simple, Smart Beekeeping”

Dr Traynor investigates honey bee health and how pesticides impact social behavior. She currently has a dual appointment as a research associate at Arizona State University and at the Free University in Berlin. She recently launched a new quarterly magazine 2 Million Blossoms: protecting our pollinators.

In 2006-2007, Kirsten received a German Chancellor Fellowship. During that time she  drove over 50,000 miles throughout Western Europe to study the differences between European & American beekeeping. Fascinated with the social complexity of a honey bee hive, she earned her PhD in biology with Dr. Robert Page. While a grad student, she spent almost a year in Avignon, France in the lab of Dr. Yves Le Conte as a Fulbright Fellow. She edited American Bee Journal from November 2017 – December 2018. She is the author of Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey and Simple, Smart Beekeeping. She previously managed a small apiary producing top quality nucs and Maryland reared queens, but has taken a break from running her own bees to focus on her new magazine.

Sam Golston — “The Business of Bees”

 Sam has been beekeeping since 1992. He is the President for the local beekeeping club in Elkins (Highlands Apicultural) and the West Virginia delegate to the Eastern Apicultural Society. He earned a Master Beekeeping Certificate from the University of Montana and has been a West Virginia Master Beekeeper for two years. He resides in Randolph County and is a retired CPA who specialized in small business consulting in Roanoke, Virginia for 20 years.


Session One:

  • On The Spot (OTS) Queen Rearing with Mel Disselkoen
  • Propolis, From the Hive to the Bottlewith Janet Clayton: Learn how to collect, clean, and process propolis from your hives, and produce products such as salve and tinctures.
  • What is Wrong with my Hive? with Debra Mayne: Presentation about opening up the hive and being able to describe what you see and smell, and what to do about it.

Session Two:

  • Simple/Smart Beekeeping part 2 with Kirsten Traynor
  • Mead Making with Ben McKean of Healthberry Farm: Learn how to make your own mead wine using raw honey and no sulfites. Ben McKean walks you step-by-step through his process for making his national award winning Old World style Honey River Meads
  • From Hobby to Commercial Beekeeper with Paul Poling of Mountain State Honey: The 38-year experience of growing a bee business will be discussed, including supplying bees for the almond industry.
  • Cooking and Baking with honey with Mary Smakula: Tips for cooking with honey – including cakes, appetizers, and beverages.


2020 Spring Conference “Life of the Honeybee” Photo Contest

Cash prize to the winners. Two categories – Black & White and Color – will be judged on-site by conference attendees. Photographs must be 5”x7”. All ages may submit. Entry fee is $5/photo. Photo should pertain to the theme of the life of the honeybee. Name and category must be written on 3×5” notecard and submitted with entry. First place photo from both categories will be featured in the WV Beekeepers Association Newsletter. Photographer retains copyright. All entries may be picked up after judging at the end of the conference. Any photographs not picked up will be returned only if photographer pays shipping.

2020 Spring Conference Painted Hive Body Contest

Cash prize to the winners. Two age Categories – 16 years and younger and 17+ – will be judged on-site by conference attendees. Entry Fee is $5/hive. All entries must be full body hives, consisting of a bottom board, brood box (1 deep or two mediums), and upper box (one deep or two mediums) and lid cover. Box must be painted by hand and design must cover a minimum of one side of the hive body. Do not attach items to outside of hive body. Name and category must be written on 3×5” notecard and submitted with entry. The first place hive from each category will be photographed and featured in the West Virginia Beekeepers Association Newsletter.

2020 Conference T-Shirt

Conference T-shirts will be available on-site for $15. To guarantee your size, pre-order your shirt with your registration form before March 2nd. We will do our best to accommodate pre-order sizes after that date.


            All events will be held on site at the Randolph County Armory.

            Please sign up for your desired workshops on the registration form.

 Friday March 20

1:00 – 4:00 pm          Master Beekeeper Program Testing

5:00 pm                       Doors Open – early registration and vendor shopping available

6:00 pm                       Social & Honey River Mead Tasting, hosted by Healthberry Farm

7:00 pm                       Native Bees presentation by Dr. Matt McKinney

Saturday March 21

8:00 – 8:30 am            Registration

8:30 – 9:00                  Welcome, Invocation & Pledge of Allegiance

Kent Leonhardt, WV Commissioner of Agriculture

Shanda King, State Apiarist

9:00 – 10:00                Mel Disselkoen “Hive Management for Sustainability”

Self-sufficient beekeeping strategies for novice and experts alike

10:00 – 10:30              Break, snacks sponsored by Atlantic Coast Pipeline

10:30 – 11:30              Dr. Kirsten Traynor “Simple Smart Beekeeping”

Using simple and smart beekeeping techniques to support healthy hives

11:30 – 12:15              Sam Golston “The Business of Bees”

Creating a profitable beekeeping business

12:15 – 1:30                Lunch

1:30 – 2:30                  Workshops

            • Mel Disselkoen “On The Spot (OTS) Queen Rearing”
            • Janet Clayton “Propolis, From the Hive to the Bottle”
            • Debra Mayne “What is Wrong with My Hive?”

2:30                             Break, snacks sponsored by Atlantic Coast Pipeline

3:00 – 4:00                   Workshops

            • Kirsten Traynor “Simple/Smart Beekeeping part 2”
            • Ben McKean “Mead Making”
            • Paul Poling “The Pollination Business”
            • Mary Smakula “Baking and Cooking with Honey”

4:00 – 4:30                   Closing & Prizes


 The vendor expo area includes the following beekeeping supply companies and bee-friendly organizations. More vendors will be added – check the conference website for the most current list of vendors.

Vendor area will be open on Friday night from 5pm – 8pm and on Saturday from 8am – 5pm.

Many vendors will gladly accept a preorder from you and bring your items to the conference to avoid shipping costs you would normally incur.

Bee Club Sales                                              910-944-2100

www.beeclubsales.com                                sales@beeclubsales.com

Better Bee, Greenwich NY                         1-800-632-3379

www.betterbee.com                                       shows@betterbee.com

Buckhannon-Upshur Work Adjustment Center, Buckhannon WV

Dadant, Frankfort KY                                 888-932-3268 or 888-922-1293

www.dadant.com                                            dadant@dadant.com

Kelley Beekeeping, Clarkson KY              270-242-6002 or 1-800-233-2899

www.kelleybees.com                                    sales@kelleybees.com

Mann Lake, Hackensack MN                    800-880-7694, 877- 829-4077

www.mannlakeltd.com                                   beekeeper@mannlakeltd.com

Miller Bee Supply, North Wilkesboro NC       336-670-2249 or 1-888-848-5184

www.millerbeesupply.com                                   info@millerbeesupply.com

Sugar Bottom Farms, Ovapa WV             304-545-4608


Vibrant Bee, Elkins WV                             610-417-7248

www.VibrantBees.com                                   wil@environotics.com

Would you like to become a vendor? Vendor cost is $45.00 – one lunch is included. Additional personnel with vendors pay $15/person for lunch and snacks. Contact Robert Kincaid to register or for more info: 304-642-8175 or robertkincaid@frontier.com

Vendors arrive for setup between 9 AM and 4 PM on Friday, March 20th. Vendor sales will be open from 5pm – 8pm on Friday and 8am – 5pm on Saturday. You will be expected to be open during those times.


 Randolph County Armory can be searched on Google Maps.

The address is 201 Caisson Dr, Belington, WV 26250


In Elkins, WV 26241 (9 miles to Armory)

Graceland Inn at Davis and Elkins College                304-637-1600

Hampton Inn               480 Plantation Drive              304-630-7500

Holiday Inn                  50 Martin Street                      304-630-2266

Iron Road Inn              357 Beverly Pike                      304-637-1888

Wyndam                     830 Harrison Ave                      304-636-1400

Super 8                       350 Beverly Pike                         304-801-3047

In Buckhannon, WV 26201 (16.5 miles to Armory) 

Baxa Inn                      21 N. Kanawha Street               304-472-2500

The Bicentennial Inn   90 E. Main Street                   304-472-5000

Colonial Motel             24 N. Kanawha Street             304-472-3000

Hampton Inn               1 Commerce Blvd                     304-473-0900