Bee Lab (OARDC)

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The Ohio State University's honey bee laboratory in Wooster developed out of a need for a beekeeping training program to serve the Ohio beekeeping industry. A course in commercial beekeeping technology was first offered to students at the OSU Agricultural Technical Institute in 1975. The first bee program coordinator was John Caulk, who was succeeded by Dr. James E. Tew in 1978. The program occupied a variety of classroom and office spaces until a building dedicated to the honey bee program was opened in 1985. The building contained office and classroom space, as well as facilities for extracting honey that supported the very popular OSU Bee Lab honey sales. In 1986, the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service (OSU Extension) assumed 50% of the support for the bee program and Dr. Tew was appointed the National Program Leader for Apiculture, USDA Extension Service the next year. In 1992, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) assumed shared funding and support for the Bee Lab and the faculty were made part of the Department of Entomology, College Biological Sciences and later, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The OSU Bee Lab pioneered distance delivery of a beekeeping credit/non-credit course through a 13 part video series broadcast via satellite. The September 16, 2010 tornado that struck the Wooster campus of OARDC destroyed a building that stored many records, supplies and memorabilia from the Bee Lab. Dr. Tew retired in 2011 and Dr. Reed M. Johnson was hired to lead the bee research program. Denise Ellsworth leads the pollinator education extension program.

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