Register now...learn the buzz about honeybees and the hobby of beekeeping
WISCASSET — According to the Maine beekeeper's schedule, February is the month to check wintering colonies of honeybees to make sure they have enough honey left in their hive to get them through the Ides of March, or longer. But for beekeepers looking to brush up on their beekeeping skills, or curious newbies who want to find out what beekeeping is all about, signing up for bee school should be done now.
The Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers club, a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and active group of beekeepers of all ages and years of experience, will again be hosting Bee School 2017 beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Running for six weeks on successive Tuesdays, bee school this year will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Thomaston American Legion Hall on Starr Street, behind the business block downtown. Cost of the course is $50 per person, and includes a textbook and a one-year membership to KLCB. Bee School is limited to 50 students, and it fills up each year, so don’t delay in securing a spot.
Membership to KLCB is $10 for individuals, and $15 for a family, and includes many opportunities to attend hive openings at other club members’ apiaries, where even more (sometimes unexpected and fascinating) learning happens. There are also monthly meetings that can include a visit to a local mead maker, an opportunity to watch honey extraction techniques, bee hive setup options, colony introductions and more.
This bee school is designed to give those who are interested in getting started keeping bees a basic understanding of bee biology, hive dynamics, beekeeping equipment (focusing on the Langstroth design) and setting up an apiary. Also covered is hive management, including understanding and managing pests and diseases.
All sessions are taught by volunteer, experienced beekeepers, and many of the sessions are taught in small groups, to ensure ample time for students to ask questions. KLCB Bee School 2016 also includes a session with the Maine State Apiarist, who will cover a variety of topics in review, as well as introduce some of their own theories and ideas based on what they have seen happening to honeybees and at apiaries around the state.
Bee school is for anyone who wants more information about honeybees and the challenges – and satisfaction – of hobby beekeeping in Maine.
In addition to classroom instruction, demonstrations and hands-on learning, the KLCB Bee School offers opportunities nearly every weekend to visit member apiaries to learn first-hand if handling bees is for you, how to hold and properly maneuver frames and boxes of bees, how to install new colonies, inspect hives, apply preventative treatments for diseases and pests, learn about swarming indicators, how to find queens, determine if your bees have enough honey to overwinter, wrapping hives for the long Maine winter and finally, decide if and when it's appropriate to harvest honey.
There is also a Saturday field trip for students and club members to a wooden ware supplier to purchase discounted complete hives and replacement pieces, tools and supplies. Students who plan on having bees in 2017 should order them now, and a list of suppliers can be found at mainebeekeepers.org.
For more information and to pre-register, email Jamie Doubleday at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-273-3937 and leave a message. Attendance is limited to 50 participants. FMI: klcbee.com.