Putnam Beekeepers slate beginner beekeeping classes

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Many years ago keeping a hive or two of bees in the back yard wasn't considered a hobby it was just a way of life to have a supply of fresh honey.

Back then as old-timers will tell you, they just had a colony of bees and you robbed gobs and gobs of honey off them a few times a year and all was good. The bees took care of themselves.

Fast forward to 2015, since the beginning of the mid-1980s things began to change and not for the better. Now beekeepers must learn ways to protect their hives from a large variety of enemies from mites to disease, lack of food sources to manmade pesticides.

The Putnam County Beekeepers Association received some first-hand experience this year concerning the quality of packaged bees which resulted in great losses. With this said, instead of dwelling on the past we should look at what we can control the future. If we can implement two or three positive countermeasures for each negative event we should be in good shape for tomorrow.

This is what the group's meetings are all about, discussions from research and personnel experiences for everyone to learn. The 2016 goal is to be totally self-sufficient by year's end and for everyone to have strong healthy manageable colonies of honey bees.

Over the last several years Putnam County has seen an increase in people starting up one or more hives. Partially due to the media reports on colony collapse seen across the United States and others because of the important role that bees play in pollination of our food supply.

Getting started on the right path can play a critical role in either being successful or throwing your time and money out the window. The best time to get into beekeeping is now while the weather is cold and the bees are in winter mode. Learning the basics is key to getting started correctly. The group will be holding a beginners' beekeeping class during our regular meetings starting Jan. 12 and will finish either March or April.

The goal is for anyone interested in starting a hive to be ready by spring. The association also has a mentoring program in which it will set everyone up with a mentor that will give you personnel guidance and get you going in the right direction.

Putnam County Beekeepers Association is free for everyone to join. The groups meet the second Tuesday of each month at DePauw University in the Julian Science building, from 6-8 p.m. If anyone has any questions about the classes or regular meetings, contact Bob Gruener at 720-5089 or bob.gruener@gmail.com or visit www.putnamcountybeekeepers.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: