Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark Counties

Rock Island County
321 W 2nd Avenue
Milan, IL 61264
Phone: 309-756-9978
FAX: 309-756-9987
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8am - 4:30pm (closed from 12pm - 1pm)

Henry-Stark County
358 Front Street
Galva, IL 61434
Phone: 309-932-3447
FAX: 309-932-3454
Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am - 4:00pm (closed from 12pm - 12:30pm)

Mercer County
910 13th Street
Viola, IL 61486
Phone: 309-871-5032
FAX: 309-871-5034
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 8am - 4:00 pm, (closed from 12pm - 12:30pm)

Mercer County
2106 SE Third Street
Aledo, IL 61231
Phone: 309-582-5106
FAX: 309-582-7338
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 8am - 4:00 pm, (closed from 12pm - 12:30pm)

Upcoming Events

Introductory Beekeeping Workshop 3 Part Series

November 7-14, 2014

Deere Wiman Carriage House
817 11th Ave
Moline, IL 61265 (Rock Island County)

University of Illinois Extension will be offering a 3-part introductory beekeeping course on November 7, 14, and March 17, 2015 at the Deere-Wiman Carriage House in Moline, Illinois. Classes will start at 10:00 a.m. and finish at 4:00 p.m.

Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited. The fee for this 3-part course is $50 per person OR $45 if you are a current University of Illinois Master Gardener or Master Naturalist. A box lunch will be provided at each class. Directions to Deer-Wiman will be sent once we receive your registration information. Pre-registration deadline is November 4th.

Apiculture, or beekeeping, has been practiced by humans for centuries. The first attempts to domesticate wild bees in artificial hives were probably found in hollow logs, pottery vessels, woven straw baskets or simple wooden boxes. Early forms of honey collecting involved the destruction of the entire colony when the honey was harvested. It was not until the 18th century that European natural philosophers undertook the scientific study of bee colonies and began to understand the complex and hidden world of bee biology. The invention of the movable comb hive enabled the beekeeper to slide any frame out of the hive for inspection, without harming the bees or the comb, protecting the eggs, larvae and pupae contained within the cells. It also meant that combs containing honey could be gently removed and the honey extracted without destroying the comb. The invention of the movable-comb hive greatly impacted the growth of commercial honey production on a large scale in both Europe and the USA.

Today, urban beekeeping is fast becoming a popular hobby. The decline of honeybees and pollinators in part is attributed to lack of nesting sites and adequate food supplies. Our home landscapes and urban gardens planted with nectar plants helps feed local bee populations.

This 3-part course will include:

1. Bee Biology

  • a. Workers
  • b. Drones
  • c. Queen

2. Why Keep Bees

  • a. Enjoyment
  • b. Pollination
  • c. Honey
  • d. Wax

3. Apiary Start-up

  • a. Location
  • b. Hive equipment
  • c. Protective gear
  • d. Miscellaneous equipment
  • e. Bees
  • f. Financial investment

4. Seasonal Management

  • a. Spring
  • b. Summer
  • c. Fall
  • d. Winter

5. Honey and Wax Processing

6. Refresher Course Outline (March 17, 2015)

  • a. Equipment overview
  • b. Installing packages or nucleus colonies
  • c. Spring Management
  • d. Summer Management
  • e. Honey processing
  • f. Fall, Winter Management

Our instructor is Tim Wilbanks, Owner of the Kalona Honey Company. Tim is a fifth generation beekeeper. He grew up in Claxton, Georgia working in his family's commercial package and queen rearing business, The Wilbanks Apiaries, Inc.. The Wilbanks Apiaries is one of the largest produces in the U.S., using 6,000 hives and 12,000 mating nucs to turn out 20,000 packages and over 60,000 queens annually. While attending the University of Georgia, he had the privilege of working at UGA's Honeybee Research Lab under the leadership of Dr. Keith Delaplane. He enjoys speaking to bee clubs and classes about his practical beekeeping experience while sharing his knowledge and love of honeybees. For more informatoin about Tim visit

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