The Back Yard Beekeepers (BYBA) will be holding Bee School 2023 in Weston in January. Bee School will take place four consecutive Mondays, Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30, with a snow date of Feb. 6. The live sessions will be held at the Norfield Grange, 12 Goodhill Road, Weston from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost will be $60 for the instruction which includes one year’s membership in BYBA. For those who are already members, the fee will be $30.
The school will be led by Andy Hatt who has kept bees for over 35 years. He is a certified Master Beekeeper through Cornell University and is also involved with the Cornell University School of Agriculture and teaches the opening class to their Bee School undergraduates.
The sessions will be co-hosted by David Blocher and Leslie Huston, both of whom are Eastern Apicultural Society certified Master Beekeepers with long experience with honeybees. Videographer Robin Hodgkins will be filming each class and making the recording available for students a few days after class.
Bee School is just one part of a network of supports which are so essential for new beekeepers today. Hobbyist beekeepers nationally suffered nearly 60% losses this past year due to a variety of threats to honey bees. But 95% of hobbyist beekeepers do not belong to any club or association. Bee School students are on the right track.
After their basic instruction, where they will make contact with an experienced mentor, Bee School grads will have access to multiple local workshops in our bee yard located at Trout Brook Valley in Easton. They will also be invited to participate in monthly New Bee zoom meetings on seasonal topics, and attend our regular monthly meetings, which feature regional and nationally known speakers.
The takeaway is that they will be joining a large network of seasoned beekeepers. The Bee School curriculum will help them make better beekeeping decisions early on by making the students aware of equipment options, techniques for ordering and installing bees and protecting them against threats. They will start ahead of the game and we want to stay right with them to support their success.
Instructors and mentors will share the wonder they feel each time they open a colony of bees. How are honey bees able to construct thousands of perfect hexagons using wax they produce from their own bodies, without an oral or written language, in almost complete darkness?
It takes one’s breath away just to think about it. They have the largest brain of any insect. And honey bees are the only organism on earth other than people where individuals can communicate to each other how to find a source of food. Through her dance, a worker bee can communicate what kind of food she has discovered, how far away it is and in what direction it can be found. We discuss the dance of the honey bee in Bee School and more.
Written by Andy Hatt