Hi, I am trying to get ideas together for a newish bee group to discuss at meetings. Our group has a good mix of newbees and more experienced beekeepers so a wide range of topics would be great. Thanks
Our bee club organises subjects by season. The talks are usually a little ahead of the season, so that members are armed with information just ahead of when they are likely to need it. I think you are in Australia, so the type of subject right now would be:
- Swarm prevention
- Recognizing queen cell subtypes, and what to do about them
- Recognizing types of brood (worker, drone, queen) and ages of brood (egg, various ages of uncapped larvae, capped larvae). Bee life cycle and jobs a bee does during her life
- What to plant, or encourage your neighbors to plant for bees
Later in the season, we might have talks about:
- Supering - when to add supers, when to take them off. How to test honey for ripeness
- What flowers at various times of year in your local area, and which plants are significant sources of nectar/pollen
- Methods of honey extraction (uncapping, centrifuging vs crush and strain vs Flow hive!) and bottling hygiene recommendations. Importance of testing harvested honey for ripeness, and what to do with unripe honey.
- When and how to render wax, when and how to store wax on frames until the next season. Uses for wax (candles, lip balm, soaps etc)
- Honey recipes and mead making
Towards the end of the season:
- Recognizing bee diseases and knowing how to treat them
- How to get your colony in the best possible shape to survive the winter. Any winterizing preparations (insulation, feeding etc)
- What routine hive maintenance to do, and planning winter activities (hive and frame repairs, cleaning the smoker etc)
Just before the start of the new season:
- Hive inspections - how to do them, what to look for. Our club actually has field sessions too, where members can get hands on experience if they want.
- How to do a post-mortem if the hive didn’t survive the winter
- How to set up a new colony from a nucleus, package, swarm or split
- How to capture and house a swarm. Getting on local swarm lists. How to do a cutout of an established colony in an unwanted location.
Hopefully that should get you started!
I have a few ideas now and I can adapt something to suit our climate. I seen a comment of Michael Bush’s that recommended talking about what the beekeepers should be doing for the next X amount of time until the next group meeting which is along the same lines as what you’ve listed.
Now I have an idea of the direction I can sit down and work out the specifics. Thanks again