RIBA in search of hive-minded college students for brand new spherical of lessons | Way of life

Honeybees are small, mighty, and obligatory for our meals provide. This a lot you most likely know. But there’s much more to find out about these highly effective pollinators, and the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association is providing two programs this winter to these all in favour of diving deeper into the world of beekeeping.

Organizers say the category is designed for these with little or no information of beekeeping, and college students might be able to check out their first beehives this spring after finishing the course. Due to COVID-19, this spherical of lessons might be held on-line utilizing Zoom.

Course subjects will embody getting began, the honeybee life cycle, selecting an apiary website, shopping for bees and gear, meeting of the hive, putting in bundle bees, catching swarms, nectar sources, bee ailments and pests, hive inspections and wintering. The obligatory gear will even be displayed and demonstrated.

Betty Mencucci, teacher and director of RIBA’s Bee School, retains about 20 hives of bees (Betty’s Bee Farm), and might be instructing the Wednesday/Thursday programs.

Mencucci mentioned she acquired began as a beekeeper unexpectedly.

“My father, Frank Hopkins, was a beekeeper. He kept some of his hives on my property. I had absolutely no interest in bees, honey or beekeeping,” she mentioned. “I would always go out and talk with him when he came to work with the bees but I was not interested in the bees. It was his hobby, not mine.”

Mencucci mentioned when her father died out of the blue on Thanksgiving Day in 1987, the household was left with the choice of what to do with 10 hives of bees. When it grew to become clear that her siblings and her mom didn’t have the curiosity or the time to dedicate to the hives, she determined to strive her hand at beekeeping.

“I inherited 10 hives of bees and all the contents of his honey house so there was no expense to try. That winter I read all of his books and went to bee school – the bee school that I now teach.” Mencucci mentioned.

“I fell in love with the bees and it has become a big part of my life. My mother gave me moral support and we went to all the bee meetings together. I also joined an organization called EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) and attended their week-long yearly conference every year for over 30 years,” she mentioned. “I became knowledgeable about bees very quickly and was given the job of bee instructor for the RI Beekeepers Association probably around 1992. I have been teaching the class every year. I am also a past president of the RI Beekeepers Association.”

Honeybees are sometimes reported on as being in jeopardy for quite a lot of causes. The RIBA lessons are geared towards equipping new beekeepers with the information they have to be profitable and useful within the honeybee plight.

“It is important for people to take a class before they venture into beekeeping on their own, Mencucci said. “There is a lot to learn; a lot more than most people realize.”

“I want students to be successful. Besides mites, there are also other bee health problems such as viruses,” she mentioned. “Gone are the days when you can put a hive of bees in your backyard and not understand what’s going on in the hive and take off the honey at the end of the season. You have to be an involved beekeeper armed with knowledge.”

Mencucci mentioned the varroa mite is a significant downside for the honeybee inhabitants.

“Bees have to be monitored for varroa mites on a continuous basis throughout the summer and fall,” she mentioned. “It is difficult to keep bees alive through the winter without taking the class and applying the knowledge you learn as to how to deal with the mites.”

For these interested by what sort of funding they’ll must make to start out out as a beekeeper, Mencucci mentioned to be ready to spend about $600 to $700.

“To start beekeeping, you need to buy bees. These are purchased only in the spring in April or May in what is called a package. You get a container with 3 pounds of bees and a queen and you shake them into your beehive,” she mentioned. “A package in 2022 costs about $150-$195. The beehive is the wooden hive that the bees will live in. That probably costs about $200. Then you need to buy a few tools as well as protective equipment to wear while you are examining your hives.”

But there are various rewards for the associated fee and the work that’s put in, Mencucci mentioned.

“There are so many enjoyable aspects: watching the hive fill up with honey, seeing what plants your bees are visiting for pollen – you can see the different colors of pollen on their legs as they return to the hive, watching a swarm of bees leave a hive, catching a swarm of bees, watching a newborn bee emerge, taking off the honey crop, raising a queen, watching what the bees are doing at the hive entrance,” she mentioned. “It keeps you in tune with nature as you pay attention to the weather … what’s in bloom?, where are my bees going?”

If you’re now buzzing with pleasure (needed to do it), the RIBA might be providing two alternatives for newbie programs, with one course held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings; and one course held on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

The Beginner Beekeeping Course with Betty Mencucci might be held Jan. 26 by means of Feb. 24, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 7 to eight:15 p.m.

The Beginner Beekeeping Course with Steve Burke might be held Jan. 31 by means of March 1, on Mondays from 7 to eight:30 p.m. and Tuesdays, from 7 to eight p.m.

The value for the five-week course is $75 per particular person. This payment contains membership dues within the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association by means of Dec. 31. Advanced registration is required.

To register, go to and click on on the hyperlink for bee faculty. You might register on-line or by sending a examine or cash order payable to RIBA and mail to: Bee School, RI Beekeepers Association, , PO Box 1055, Bristol, RI 02809.

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