Monday, February 12, 2007

Beekeepers workshop

A fair number (maybe 75?) of Blount Countians showed up tonight for the first night of the annual beekeepers workshop, sponsored by the Blount County Beekeeper's Association. Lots of good information from lots of friendly folks.

One of the best presentations was from a young couple who had just completed their first year as beekeepers. This presentation is an standard item at the workshop. The couple have an organic farm in Rockford, which they have just begun, and they oultine some of the things they went through to get their hives going. One of the main problems, they said, was not being ready with their equipment assembled when the bees showed up.

Otherwise, they said, they accomplished pretty much what they had set out to do the first year -- keep their bees alive. They didn't harvest any honey, which is fairly standard for the first year of an operation. The bees need most of the honey they make to get themselves through the next winter. (I talked with a guy after the meeting ended, however, who said he had just completed his first year and he DID get some honey -- not much, but still . . .)

Joe Tarwater, a friendly guy with a thick white beard who seemed like he had been keeping bees since Moses came down off the mountain, showed us a variety of hive parts -- boxes, frames, tops, bottom boards, etc. There are three sizes of boxes: deep, medium and shallow. His advice to those of us just starting out:

"Pick one size and stick with it."

I had heard that before. Jim Brown had told me that if he was just starting out, he would buy nothing but medium (or Illinois) boxes. The reason for that is that each size takes a different size of frame, and switching the boxes in and out and get complicated.

I had already decided to go with Joe's and Jim's advice. I am using just medium boxes for my hives.

The workshop continues tomorrow night.

No comments: