Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Beekeeping Workshop at the Intervale

It has been a busy couple of weeks at our house. I apologize for the lack of posts. Now I’m back online and hope that you find the next couple of articles interesting.

On April 21st, Michael and I traveled to the Intervale in Burlington, Vermont and attended a beekeeping workshop by the Vermont Beekeepers Association. About twenty people attended on a cold spring day to learn about nuc installation from Mr. Lang. He was a very knowledgeable beekeeper who put up with a lot of annoying questions from the audience. More importantly, he actually installed a couple of nucs from Kirk Webster’s Champlain Valley Bees and Queens.

Mr. Webster’s (the honorific should be used when addressing a master in his/her field) nucs were incredible. These eight fame beauties were full of bees and great brood patterns. More importantly, the numbers indicated that a very healthy colony was already well established. Watching the ladies perform their work was moment of gnosis. Clearly, our decision to by nucs from this practitioner was the right move. More importantly, the bees were a clear reflection of the care and knowledge that this gentlemen has obtained a high level of understanding of his craft. The other bees were from Mr. Lang’s nucs. They were also equally interesting and strong. However, they were just four frame nucs. Still his two were also strong and vibrant. Watching the installation was the first time that I had gotten to handle bees. Again, it was an incredible experience and one that I will not soon forget.

I spent a lot of time watching the beekeepers and observing the various kinds of people that are getting into keeping a couple of hives. I realized that this sub group of Homo mellifera is pretty interesting. Most of these beekeepers were in their late 30’s and 40’s with disposable income and an environmental commitment. Most were clearly not the popular kids in high school or college. I watched with certain amusement as one dude in particular asked for permission to take pictures and clearly got in the way of everyone. I would also say that most had a slightly science fiction bent to their personalities. Could it be that they were fascinated by these social insects as surrogates for their own repressed feelings involving the Queen Borg from Star Trek: Next Generation? There was something creepy about the suits and veils covering everyone’s faces that made the get together feel like a convention of uber geeks. A couple of people were busy taking notes, and one male in particular asked some very technical questions involving chemical control of mites. In the end someone shouted, “Vote Pedro!” and ran off.

After the workshop finished, Michael and I packed our bags and went to Al’s French Fries for some greasy food.


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