- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
- You want to do your part to help the declining bee population.
- You want to learn about the honey bees that pollinate the food you eat, including fruits, vegetables and nuts (especially almonds!).
- You'd love some honey for your table and some wax to make candles.
- You want to learn about the queen bee, drones and worker bees--what they do and how to care for them.
- You want to join your fellow beekeeping friends.
But where do you start?
You're in luck.
The E. L. Nino lab at the University of California, Davis, is offering two back-to-back short courses: the first on Saturday, Aug. 27 on “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” and the second on Sunday, Aug. 28 on “Working Your Colonies.”
Each will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Participants may register for one or both courses, according to Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, who is coordinating and teaching the courses with Bernardo Niño and colleagues at the Laidlaw facility. The short courses will be limited to 25 people.
Here's some information about each:
Planning Ahead for Your First Hive
The course, “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives,” taught by Elina Niño, Bernardo Niño, Charley Nye and Tricia Bohls, will provide lectures and hands-on exercises. The course is described as “perfect for those who have little or no beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical skills before moving on to the next step of owning and caring for their own honey bee colonies.”
Lecture modules will cover honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to start your colony, and maladies of the hive. Practical modules will zero in on how to build a hive, install a package, inspect a hive and monitor for varroa mites.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and practice many aspects of what is necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving. At the end of the course, participants "will be knowledgeable about installing honey bee packages, monitoring their own colonies and taking on possible challenges with maintaining a healthy colony."
The $95 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch and refreshments.
Working Your Colonies
For the short course, “Working Your Colonies,” instructors are Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño. The course, to include lectures and hands-on exercises, is described as “perfect or those who already have beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical to move on to the next step of managing and working their own honey bee colonies.”
Lecture modules will include advanced honey bee biology, honey bee integrated pest management and products of the hive. Practical modules will cover queen wrangling, honey extraction, combining colonies, splitting colonies and monitoring for varroa mites. The $150 registration fee covers the cost of course materials, lunch, and refreshments.
For each course, participants are asked to bring a bee suit or veil if they have one (the lab has a limited number). Lodging is not provided. For more information on registering for the short courses, contact Bernardo Niño at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 380-BUZZ (2899). Want to access up-to-date information? See lab's Facebook page.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Registration is now underway for the “Beekeeping Basics Workshop,” sponsored by the Highland Springs Resort and SuperOrganism, a non-profit, San Anselmo-based organization that books speakers and does bee projects.
The event, limited to 25 registrants, takes place from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 27 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Highland Springs Resort.
Conference speakers will include Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Elina Niño discuss how bees communicate and beekeeping basics and offer hands-on instruction. Bernardo Niño will cover beekeeping basics—from how to examine a colony to how to split a hive.
Other speakers include
- Megan Mahoney of the national Bee Informed Partnership Tech Transfer Team, who will discuss top bar beekeeping and what forage to plant.
- Mark Brandenburg, an agronomist whose topic is soil development for forage grasses.
- Jerry Draper of SuperOrganism and a 30-year beekeeper who will share his experiences on “what an inexpensive electronic hive can reveal.”
- M.E.A. McNeil of SuperOrganism and a master beekeeper and journalist writing for The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture who will provide insight into what's happening for bees nationally--on both a grassroots and national level.
- Ricardo Placienta, Highland Springs Resort beekeeper who will discuss his philosophy of beekeeping and provide a hands-on look at the bees.
- Tina Kummerle, beekeeper and manager of the Highland Springs Resort who will introduce the attendees to the history of the resort, its plantings and information on the bees
The Highland Springs Resort, located just west of Palm Springs, is an historic site that once served as a stage coach stop. Its 2400 organically maintained acres include hiking trails and large lavender beds that provide an ideal home for bees.
"I think this is a rare opportunity for people to have face time with these expert beekeepers, the Niño and Megan Mahoney," said McNeil, who as the co-founder of SuperOrganism, lined up the speakers.
Of the venue, she said: "It's a beautiful place with enormous organic acreage, hoping to promote beekeeping."
For more information, access the beekeeping conference on the Highland Springs Resort website. It includes information on conference fees, accommodations and meals. The conference fees will go toward travel expenses of the speakers.