- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Make way for the new beekeepers! Or "beeks," as they fondly call themselves in the apiary industry.
A short course on "Planning Ahead for Your First Hive" drew an enthusiastic group of prospective beekeepers last Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
Aimed at those with little or no beekeeping experience, the all-day course included lectures and hands-on experience. The instructors--Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, Bernardo Niño, Charley Nye and Patricia "Tricia" Bohls--explained what beekeeping is all about. The lectures covered honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to start your own colony, and maladies of the hive. The participants also learned how to build a hive, how to install a package, how to inspect your hive, and how to monitor for varroa mites.
This was the first in a series of several beekeeping courses that began Feb. 13 and will conclude on March 20. All classes are filled, but folks can contact Bernardo Niño at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-380-BUZZ (2899) to be put on a list.
Meanwhile, the instructors are busily gearing up for these courses, all filled:
Working Your Colonies on Feb. 20: For novice beekeepers who already have a colony and/or have taken a previous course, and seek to develop their skills. Lectures will cover maladies and biology review, products of the hive, and troubleshooting problems in the colony. Hands-on information will encompass colony evaluations, monitoring and managing pests, feeding your colony, and honey extraction.By the end of the course, participants will be knowledgeable about evaluating colonies, solving common beekeeping problems, extracting honey and wax, trapping pollen and propolis, and treating colonies for pests, the instructors said.
Queen-Rearing Techniques: (two separate sessions) March 12-13 and March 19-20: Topics will include honey bee queen biology, basics of selective honey bee breeding programs, various queen-rearing techniques, testing hygienic behavior, and assessing varroa mite levels. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and practice multiple methods for queen rearing. “We will go through a step-by-step process for queen rearing via grafting, including setting up cell builders and mating nucs,” Elina Niño said.
The Niño lab launched a website last year at http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/, and administers a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elninolab/. In addition, Elina Niño writes a bi-monthly apiculture newsletter, free and online.