HONESDALE—The Park Street Complex will be abuzz next Saturday, February 9, for a beginner beekeeper workshop taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hosted by the Wayne County Beekeepers Association, the event is free and open to any members of the public looking to get started in or learn more about beekeeping as a hobby or even a second profession.
According to association president and 50-year apiculturist Larry Knack, the workshop is great for amateur and adept apiarists alike.
“Anytime you go to a class, you'll learn something,” said Knack, noting that with a gathering of several beekeepers and association members of varying degrees of experience, there's a little something for everyone to learn.
According to a press release, topics covered at the workshop include “Types of bees, ordering bees, a “how-to” for installation of packages, initial feeding, what to do with nucs, what to expect the first few weeks, castes of bees, discussion of equipment needed, local suppliers, treatment vs. treatment free beekeeping, updates on diseases especially Varroa, and more!”
Especially for beginners, “It's important to learn about bees before working with them,” said Knack.
The association president noted many of the discussions will weigh the pros and cons of various approaches to managing hives, treating diseases, and caring for the bees so that hopeful beekeepers can choose the method which suits them.
New legislation regarding the acquisition of antibiotics from veterinary offices will also be discussed, said Knack.
There are also 25 catalogues from three different local supply companies available for prospective beekeepers to peruse.
The workshop will also feature guest speaker, Orna Clum, a member of both the Lackawanna Beekeepers Association and the Wayne County Beekeepers Association who lives in Scotts Township.
Due to the time of year, there will be no live bees present at the workshop, but there will be the chance to purchase bulk orders of bees and recommendations for equipment to get started.
Knack explained it is often advisable for beginners to start with two hives to allow for easier management and a comparison between them for how the colonies are doing.
The costs of starting equipment including these hives, a beekeeper's suit and other supplies comes to about $350 plus the cost of bees, said Knack.
He noted three-pound bags, two of which would be needed to start, vary between $140 and $199.
He further noted now is a great time to start gathering equipment and putting hives together in anticipation of bee deliveries in the spring.
Setting up and ordering early will allow beekeepers to get a starter colony delivered by April or May and, “If all goes well, you'll have 60,000 to 80,000 bees by June,” said Knack.
In his 50 years of beekeeping, Knack said the most rewarding thing is “...watching the bees coming in and out, bringing in nectar and pollen.”
The bees' pollination helps his garden flourish, he added.
An avid honey enthusiast, Knack also noted he enjoys harvesting the golden sweetener at the end of the season.
In addition to all mentioned above, “There will be time for open discussions on problem solving, some hands-on experiences, and activities for youth,” states a release.
Those interested are asked to contact the Wayne County Penn State Extension Office by phone (570-253-5970 ext. 4110) or email (WayneExt@psu.edu) to register.
“We look forward to seeing you there,” said Knack.
—Information from a release was used in this story.