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Annual beekeeping workshop this Saturday

The Parkland Beekeeping Association will be holding their annual beekeeping workshop at Mineral Area College on Saturday and anyone who is interested in beekeeping or is an experienced beekeeper is welcome to attend.

Missouri State Beekeeping Association (MSBA) Southeast Region Representative Greg Hitchings said this workshop is intended for those who are thinking about beekeeping, just started beekeeping or are already established at beekeeping.

“We do that in breakout sessions. We will gather everyone together to have general information and then we will split up,” said Hitchings. “We will have some experienced beekeepers who will be talking to the established beekeepers about various aspects of colony management, disease, mite detection and treatment, taking splits and raising your own queens on a simple basis.”

Hitchings said in the other session it will basically be people who have an interest in beekeeping, but haven’t made the plunge yet.

“It will be from the standpoint of costs, starting the craft, as well as the time involvement,” said Hitchings. “People are always wanting to know how much time this is going to take and we will answer the questions there.”

Hitchings said the class will also provide basic information of the life cycle of the honey bee and the equipment necessary for being successful at beekeeping. He stressed it really centers around the first year of just getting started.

“The established beekeepers will already know this and the beginning beekeepers who join us for this workshop won’t, but this is the beginning of our instructional year,” said Hitchings. “The Parkland Beekeepers understand and promote the fact it takes both knowledge and skill to be successful.”

Hitchings explained they have an alliance with MAC and they have a teaching area on-site. The first Tuesday of every month beginners can come to their beginning meetings and they also have their regular monthly meeting on the third Tuesday of each month.

“When weather permits, we will actually meet in the late afternoon and those who would like to go into the demonstration hives there will be experienced beekeepers there who can show them the ins and outs and answer questions.”

He said they will also go into the classroom in the horticulture department every month and talk about what stage the bees are in, what they are seeing in their hives and how to plan forward for the next month and beyond.

“Beekeeping is something that changes every week and a new beekeeper needs to understand it is an evolutionary process when they come out of their cluster in the early spring until they go to bed in late November,” Hitchings said. “Everything changes throughout the year and this is what we stress with beginning beekeepers and skilled ones also.”

Hitchings said there is a $50 registration fee and it includes a one year membership with the Parkland Beekeepers, lunch and a beginner’s book, “The Honey Bee Hobbyist.” Established beekeepers will get a hive mask and a book.

“Everyone will understand at the meeting that this is our kickoff and our learning begins on Jan. 20 and continues throughout the year, if they want to continue,” said Hitchings. “We had a preregistration process and that recently ended and we already have 20 to 25 people who preregistered.”

Hitchings said they decided to open it up to anyone else who wants to come. He stressed that if there is an overwhelming amount of people who attends, not every will get a book that day if they run out, but will get them one in the future.

“We will have MSBA 2017 Ambassador Kyle Day who will be visiting and will be doing some of the instruction as well,” said Hitchings. “He will be teaching a little bit of simplified queen rearing to the established beekeepers.”

For an agenda, check out www.parklandbeekeepersassociation.org and for more information contact the PBA President at pba_president@mineralarea.edu or by text or phone at 573-631-8236.

A frame from the brood chamber holds the wax and honeycomb where bees make honey.

A frame from the brood chamber holds the wax and honeycomb where bees make honey.

Beekeepers wear a beekeeping suit to protect them from being stung by bees while handling the hives.

Beekeepers wear a beekeeping suit to protect them from being stung by bees while handling the hives.

Beginning beekeepers are given a hands-on opportunity throughout the year during the monthly beginners meetings.

Beginning beekeepers are given a hands-on opportunity throughout the year during the monthly beginners meetings.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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