Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beekeepers in Winter

Without being able to see my girls in the cold weather, I have to content myself with other ways to think about bees.

This past weekend I attended NOFA - Northeast Organic Farming Association at Worcester State University. The event has left my head buzzing with ideas. (Get it?)

About 800 people attended and just being with 800 other people who get the importance of bees is pretty cool. I spoke with farmers who grow incredible vegetables, beautiful chickens, and fuzzy sheep. The food, as you might imagine, was not only tasty but organic as well. All day long, the only thing I saw that wasn't labeled organic was the sugar in my tea. Which might have been organic, but unlabeled.

As expected, there were a couple of workshops on bees. One was on beginning beekeeping and I decided not to go to that. I am coming to the close of my 7th year beekeeping so I checked out other things during that time.

I did go to Dan Conlon's workshop on Queen rearing. He and his wife own Warm Colors Apiary. I learned a lot and this echos what I'd been thinking about. If I love a queen, I should actively keep her genes in my apiary.

So inspired by Dan, I am going to work to keep really clear records of my bee lines and learn to mark queens. I am going to select on two important characteristics: gentleness and honey production.  Right now, I am really in a record keeping phase but as we expand the operation here, which hive the queen comes from will be quite important.

Go bees!

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