The growing popularity of small-scale beekeeping is good news for the bees, but it also raises its own set of challenges. Rarely does a small-scale beekeeper encounter Colony Collapse — but every beekeeper must contend with Varroa mites, scant forage, and scarce high-quality package bees and nucs.
What can we do to help our bees thrive and flourish? Starting from an understanding of the honeybee colony as an organism unlike any other found in nature, we will consider:
• Swarming as an expression of the bees’ vitality;
• Healthy rhythms of life in the hive, and how to support them;
• When to intervene and when to let your bees manage on their own;
• Increasing your apiary naturally with splits and swarms while breeding better, locally-adapted queens;
• Alternative hive designs;
• Managing Varroa;
• And more.
Weather permitting, we'll visit the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary, where techniques discussed in the classroom will be demonstrated.
Beginning beekeepers are strongly encouraged to attend the optional Friday afternoon beginners’ session.
Bill Day first learned beekeeping from Gunther Hauk as an intern at the Pfeiffer Center in 2001-02. He is the Pfeiffer Center’s beekeeper and beekeeping instructor. He also keeps bees at Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt, NY.