Conscious Beekeeping: Practical Organic Approaches for Healthy Bees and Growing Apiaries
With Bill Day
Saturday, April 29, 9:00am-5:00pm
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 rampant Varroa mites, scant forage, and scarce high-quality package bees and nucs.
Conventional approaches focus on beating back or defeating these challenges, but the search for a silver bullet to every problem seems only to unearth new problems. This workshop approaches the problem from the other side: What can we do to help our bees thrive and flourish in the present-day environment? 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;
• Varroa control through acid treatments and brood interruption;
• 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.