It’s that time of year again–no, I’m not talking about the holidays–it’s time to start thinking about Bee-School! This year is the 3rd annual Bee-School offered by the Somerset Beekeepers, hosted by the University of Maine’s Somerset County Cooperative Extension.
I’m excited to be able to teach this course yet again. Last year we had over 30 people sign up for the course and we were a bit crowded in the classroom at the extension office–so this year I’m limiting the number to 30. I’ve already had a few folks pre-register, so if you’re interested, don’t wait–sign up now before I run out of space. However–if we do run out of space, and there are very many folks still looking to participate in a local bee-school–I may consider offering a second course.
I’ve made a few changes to our course this year–the biggest difference being that it will be 4 classes rather than 5. In the past, it seemed like my 4th and 5th classes were short, with the 5th being the shortest–only taking 30-45 minutes to get through the material. And with some of our students coming from quite a distance it seemed an awful shame to have them drive all that way for such a short time in class. So this year I’ve decided to cram all of the material into 4 sessions.
Somerset’s bee-school is–effectively–a crash course in beekeeping. We will cover such topics as when and where to order bees, how to establish new hives, equipment and gear needed, pests and pathogens afflicting honeybees, sustainable beekeeping methods, honey production, over-wintering hives, and more. I hope to be able to impart enough knowledge on prospective new beekeepers to give them a good shot at being successful in their first year of beekeeping. I strive to answer their questions, alleviate confusion, and psyche them up enough to overcome any fears they might harbor about working with these stinging insects.
By no means would I ever claim to have all the answers–but in my own rabid pursuit for knowledge of bees and beekeeping, I feel I’ve learned enough at this point that I can–at the very least–give our local beekeepers a better chance at successfully maintaining thriving colonies as they learn the art of beekeeping.
As for my own education–2014 marks my 5th year in beekeeping, which means I am finally eligible to take the exams for Master Beekeeper certification. The state of Maine currently has 12 master beekeepers–only 2 of which are women–and none of whom reside in the central Maine area. I’ve already begun studying the materials for the course, which is offered annually by the Eastern Apicultural Society, but I will have to wait to take the exams until the EAS conference returns closer to home. The 2014 EAS conference is to be held in Richmond, Kentucky–and with our prospective 2014 farm expansions–I know already that traveling out of state is going to be out of the question.
Still, I will continue to study so that I can be ready when that time comes, and in the meantime I will continue my work educating others about bees and beekeeping. If you–or someone you know–is interested in participating in the Somerset Bee-School feel free to download this info-sheet and get in touch with me to sign up. Remember space is limited, so don’t wait!