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Fri, Feb 10



Western PA Beekeeping Seminar

The Western PA Beekeeping Seminar is BACK! - Come join fellow beekeepers for this great event and hear great local speakers as well as Dr. Thomas D. Seeley.

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Western PA Beekeeping Seminar
Western PA Beekeeping Seminar

Time & Location

Feb 10, 2023, 7:00 PM – Feb 11, 2023, 4:30 PM

Monroeville, 3000 Gateway Campus Blvd, Monroeville, PA 15146, USA


About the event

We will have great presentations, fellowship with other beekeepers and outstanding food at our beekeeping seminar.

Our speaker bio's are listed below:

Dr. Jay Hosler

Jay Hosler is a biology professor at Juniata College by day and a scheming cartoonist at night. His diabolical plan is to secretly weave his love of science and the natural world into thrilling tales of adventure and derring-do. So far, the plan is working. Unsuspecting readers fall into stories about creepy-crawly things and discover the wondrous world right underfoot. His books have been translated into several languages, but he can only read the ones in English. In his spare time, Jay likes to read comics and watch Godzilla movies. He lives in Pennsylvania with his queen and two drones.

Dr. David T. Peck

Dr. Peck is the Director of Research and Education at Betterbee in Greenwich, NY, where he assists in product development and research, and also teaches classes and develops scientifically-sound educational materials. His doctoral work in Cornell University's Department of Neurobiology and Behavior was supervised by Professor Tom Seeley. His dissertation research focused on the transmission of mites between bee colonies, as well as the mite-resistance traits of the untreated honey bees living in Cornell's Arnot Forest. After earning his degree, he has continued to research varroa/bee interactions, including fieldwork in Newfoundland, Canada (where varroa still have not arrived) and Anosy Madagascar (where varroa arrived only in 2010 or 2011). He has served as a teaching postdoctoral fellow in Cornell's Department of Entomology, and is still affiliated with Cornell through the Honey Bee Health program in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Peck has kept bees for more than a decade, though his home apiary is often full of mite-riddled research colonies so he doesn't usually produce much honey.

Dr. Thomas D. Seeley

Thomas D. Seeley, biologist and writer, is the Horace White Professor in Biology Emeritus at Cornell University, where he is a member of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. From 1980 to 2020, he taught courses on animal behavior and conducted research on the behavior, social life, and ecology of honey bees. Besides being a honey bee biologist, Tom is an avid beekeeper. He began keeping bees when he was a high school student, in Ithaca, New York, in the late 1960s, and he still keeps about 10 colonies. His scientific work is summarized in five books: Honeybee Ecology (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive (1995), Honeybee Democracy (2010), Following the Wild Bees (2016), and The Lives of Bees (2019). Next Spring, he will publish his final book, Solving 20 Mysteries of Honey Bee Behavior (2023). In recognition of his scientific discoveries, he has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences. He has also been awarded various scientific honors, including a Gold Medal for Best Science Book (The Wisdom of the Hive) at Apimondia in 1997 (Antwerp). He writes: "These honors are gratifying, but for me the most important 'prizes' by far are the discoveries that I have made about the natural lives and inner workings of honey bee colonies."

Dr. Robyn Underwood

Robyn received her BSc in Entomology and Applied Ecology from the University of Delaware and her PhD in Entomology from the University of Manitoba. As a Penn State Extension Educator, she has been part of the creation of several extension articles and webinars, and is working on editing and updating Penn State’s Field Guide to Honey Bees and Their Maladies, the Beekeeping Basics book, Penn State’s Beekeeping 101 online course as questions arise, and is planning many more activities, including intermediate and advanced beekeeping content. Robyn is the leader of the EPIQ program (Education about Production and Insemination of Queen) which is teaching approximately 225 Northeast PA beekeepers to become queen producers. Her research program focuses on honey bee health and practical beekeeping considerations. Specifically, she is studying the impacts of honey bee colony management (COMB) and queen origin on colony health and productivity. Her ongoing projects include experiments that assess the practical implications of different types of beekeeping philosophies (conventional, organic and treatment free), performance of honey bee queens from various genetic lines, and how different types of feed impact honey bee health. Her latest graft-funded project will assess honey bee foraging on certified organic farms to potentially influence the recommendations for organic certification of beekeeping operations in the US. These ongoing projects have been extramurally funded (totaling almost $2.25 million) and have generated several extension product outputs. Her research and extension aspirations work hand in hand. Conducting scientifically sound research projects to study beekeeper- applied questions is critically important. Bringing the results of the projects to the beekeepers through extension products then improves the industry while making beekeeping a more successful venture.

Robyn Underwood

Extension Educator - Apiculture

Penn State Extension


Karen Roccasecca

State Apiarist

I graduated from Penn State University with a BS in horticulture. I worked in the horticulture industry for a number of years and then stayed home with my three children. I started working at the PA Department of Agriculture with the Plum Pox Virus section and then moved to the apiary section under Dennis vanEngelsdorp in October 2006, right before CCD began. I helped with research, field and lab work, inspections, and administrative duties. I became the State Apiarist in 2013. My son and I currently have about 15 colonies of bees in the Harrisburg area. I am honored to be able to work with the Apiary Inspectors, Penn State, and the PSBA to help keep Pennsylvania’s beekeepers and bees healthy and safe. 

Mark Gingrich 

Mark Gingrich is a commercial, sideline beekeeper and the owner of Gingrich Apiaries, LLC in Dover, PA where he manages in excess of 250 colonies for pollination, production of honey and queen rearing. The operation produces an average of 300 mated queens annually sold across the US. He served as 2nd vice president of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association for (5) years and is currently in his second year as state president. He is a founding member and Co-Chair for the Pennsylvania Queen Bee Improvement Project, a certified EAS master beekeeper, member of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture apiary advisory board, Penn State Ag Council, stake holder in the COMB and CARE projects, long time participant in numerous USDA funded SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) grants focused on bee genetics, and instructor at the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education. He is active in many Pennsylvania county bee clubs. Mark grew up in 4-H and FFA and remains closely connected to agriculture. He is currently an executive board member of the Pennsylvania State Council of Farm Organizations and actively speaking on various beekeeping topics across the northeastern states.

Randy McCracken

Owner of Red Diamond Honeybees

Located in Beaver County Pennsylvania

Producer of Queens, Nucs, Honey with a 200 colony operation Randy’s goal is to help new beekeepers become successful and sustainable.

Joe Zgurzynski

Joe Zgurzynski is second-generation beekeeper who grew up on a small farm in New Jersey. He was president of the local 4-H beekeeping club as a teenager and has had a lifelong interest in beekeeping and entomology. The beehives are managed as part of Country Barn Farm, which is located a few miles north of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania city limits. The farm operations include producing local honey, teaching beekeeping classes, selling beekeeping equipment, and producing queen bees for other beekeepers. Joe runs the Country Barn Beekeeping Club through the farm and is a member of the Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers Association as well as the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association. He is certified as an Eastern Apicultural Society Master Beekeeper and takes an active role in helping new beekeepers get started. Joe is the chair of the 2023 Western Pennsylvania Beekeeping Seminar Committee.

Hannah Durkin

My name is Hannah Durkin. I attended Penn State University and received a degree in Environmental Resource Management-Soils Option. I started beekeeping in 2017. In 2018, I was the Pennsylvania Honey Queen. I am currently down to two hives, but want to work on bringing those numbers back up.

Roxanne Swan

Roxanne Swan is an Environmental Botanist and Horticulturist with the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. As Coordinator of the Audubon Center for Native Plants, her mission is to propagate plants for the landscape and promote awareness of the importance of native plants. Audubon Society of Western Pa (ASWP) based at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel is an environmental education and conservation organization founded in 1916. Our mission is: Connecting the people of southwestern Pennsylvania to birds and nature through our programs, projects, and places. Audubon also manages Succop Nature Park in Butler, Todd Nature Reserve and Buffalo Creek Nature Park in Sarver. The Audubon Center for Native Plants (ACNP) was established in 2000 and allows Audubon to increase the promotion, protection and propagation of Western Pa native plants. ACNP seeks to nursery propagate native plants from local seed, provide information on native plant culture and use, reverse the spread of invasive plants, work to restore public lands and reduce the effects of stormwater through native plant rain gardens. ASWP is a Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance Partner. RGA is a collaborative effort between local professionals seeking to promote rain gardens as a means of reducing problems caused by stormwater runoff. RGA provides education about the benefits of rain gardens and information on how to install them.

Roxanne Swan Education and Experience:

Received a degree in Environmental Botany and a Certificate in Horticulture from Chatham University in 2007. I have worked as a professional in the Green industry for over 25 years. As coordinator for the Audubon Center for Native Plants my main responsibilities include; propagating, promoting and caring for native plants in our nursery and providing education programs about native plants and rain gardens. Some of my experience includes: Greenhouse Practices instructor for Community College of Allegheny County covering aspects of greenhouse systems. As program coordinator with Turtle Creek Watershed Association I developed and conducted rain garden workshops, presented native plant and water quality programs and worked with the community on natural resource conservation. Over the years I have worked with several South Hills nurseries. I also owned and operated ‘Swan’s Organic Gardening’ for 12 years coordinating and performing sustainable garden maintenance, native plant landscape design and organic plant care, as well as horticulture lectures, soil testing and consulting. In short: Roxanne Swan is an Environmental Botanist and Horticulturist with the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. As Coordinator of the Audubon Center for Native Plants, her mission is to propagate plants for the landscape and promote awareness of the importance of native plants.

Elliott Hilton –MBA, CDM, CFPP

I have been in the hospitality industry all of my life. Hospitality is in my blood. Family members have been significant models for me in the food industry, some having owned restaurants where I began working since the age of 13. I have worked in all types of foodservice operations as a food service director during my career. I have also taught Hospitality and Culinary Management courses at Butler County Community College and The Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati and the Art Institute of Michigan, where I served as program chair for Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry and Culinary Management programs from 2013-2018. I currently am the Director of Dining Services for Cura Hospitality at Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pennsylvania.


  • 1 hour 30 minutes

    Beekeeping Discussion - Organic Beekeeping (and I don’t mean treatment free!) - Robyn Underwood


  • 1 hour


    Lobby outside Auditorium
5 more items available

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