With the coming of a new year we make resolutions. To lose weight; complete an unfinished project or possible pursue a new interest or hobby. How about beekeeping? These smallest of creatures that are so important to our ecosystem have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Since 1950 there has been a 50% decline in managed hives and a 70-90% loss of feral bee colonies.
There is no one cause for this decline, but rather a combination of several factors ranging from the lack of habitat to the wide use of pesticides and the lack of genetic diversity in today’s bees. The decline of the bee could impact our quality of life. One in every three bites of food and drink we consume is a result of pollination of the honey bee. Now more than ever they need the help of hobbyists and gardeners to survive in today’s environment.
In the coming weeks several opportunities will be available to learn about beekeeping and what you can do to help.
On Saturday January 9, 2016, from 2:00 to 3:15, the Bethel Branch Library of the Clermont County Library System, will offer a program in conjunction with the Brown County Beekeepers Association on ‘‘An Introduction to Beekeeping”. The basics of beekeeping will be covered as well as several different way that bees can kept. These different ways to maintain bees can be of interest to people with limited budgets and physical abilities. Pre-registration is required.
April 2, 2016, is the date of the Ohio State Extension Services Bee School at the Oasis Conference Center in Loveland, Ohio. This is one of the top bee programs in this region. The all day school has a variety of breakout programs geared to all different interest levels and experience. Registration begins January 15, 2016 and it is critical to register quickly. The allocated 350 openings are usually filled within the first 7 to 10 days of open registration. Registration information can be found at warren.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources
The 7th Annual Northeastern Kentucky Beekeeping School will be held on February 27,2016, at the Maysville Community and Technical College in Maysville, Ketucky. This is another all day program running from 8:30 to 3:30 PM covering a wide range of topic of interest to both novice and experienced beekeepers. Registration is open now at www.lickingriverbeekeepers.com.
February 9, 2016 will be the first meeting of the year for the Brown County Beekeepers Association in the Community Room at Western Brown High School in Mt. Orab, Ohio. The meetings begin at 7:00 PM and anyone with an interest in beekeeping is welcome to attend and take part in our fellowship and educational programs that we have at every meeting.
If beekeeping is not on your list for this year, how about providing a variety of plants, shrubs and trees that would be beneficial to bees? There is a wealth of information on line about plants beneficial to pollinators. If the internet is not a resource for you, contact your county Ohio State University Extension Office and a Master Gardener Volunteer will be happy to assist you in providing information on gardening for pollinators.