Beginning Beekeeping Class Coming Up February 24, 2018
We are getting ready for our second beginning beekeeping class in Rolla, Missouri Saturday, February 24, 2018 this year. While my dining room is still a disaster area with partially assembled diaries, to the delight of one of my cats, it's fun to take a time out to remember what it was like to be someone just getting started.
There are a lot of different classes around, some 3 hours long promising to teach everything you need to know to be a beekeeper to special weekend long courses for one technique. Our day long course 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is designed to give students what we wished we had known when we started, just the basics on what to buy as start up equipment and how to manage honeybees through the first winter. We even joke that they can't call themselves beekeepers until they successfully pull a colony through a winter.
And to make sure they are successful, my bee buddy David and I also started the Rolla Bee Club, which meets the fourth Sunday of the month at the same location as the classes, 1341 California. The monthly club meetings review what is happening with the colonies, what tasks are coming up, addresses issues and hopefully provides a support network for area beekeepers to be successful. The website also lists upcoming meeting dates, references and other helpful information.
No two years of managing honeybees is exactly the same. Having opportunities to share information, compare notes and keep track of what is going on with other beekeepers is very important to be successful. And who wants to miss out on all of the stories!
When David and I first started beekeeping, and yes the dinosaurs I'm sure where still around somewhere - we had to scrounge for information so we give our students a better experience with a basic beekeeping book we have sourced ourselves; a custom beekeeping diary to emphasize the importance of record-keeping with check lists to guide them in key decisions to set up their apiary; a catered lunch from St. James Marketplace Cafe; a natural events calendar to monitor when food sources will be blooming; several catalogs and a tube of special oatmeal "Stop the Sting" to handle their first bee stings. Cost for class registration is $50 to cover the class materials.
We also bring in equipment then can try out including beekeeping suits.
Now one of David's pet peeves is having to undo what people pick up watching you tube videos so we have a simple rule about that. We say don't trust anyone wearing a brand new - suit, gloves or aprons.
In addition to being able to try out equipment and discuss the pros and cons of various types of equipments, beginning beekeepers at the end of the day have the option of visiting a nearby working apiary so if you are taking this class, plan on bringing, or borrowing, a bee suit.
To pre-register, contact David at (573) 578-0561 and email rollabees at gmail.com.
"We think that being exposed to bees is an important part of the educational experience," David said. Since this is his apiary, I tend to agree. I also love to see the faces of people who want to keep bees having the first honeybee land on their heavily gloved hand. Priceless!