The Capital Region Beekeepers Association meeting was last week, so I thought I’d report on how the evening went.
First off, I was surprised to see about 100 people there – I really didn’t expect that many people!
They had a ‘Beginners Corner’ for the first 1/2 hour that I had really been looking forward to. When we arrived and introduced ourselves (as first time attendees) at the door, we were warmly greeted, but nobody explained what would happen that evening or pointed us any particular direction. There were many chairs set up facing a front table and projector so we took a seat and waited for the evening to begin. After 7pm came and went, we began to look around and wonder when the beginner time would start, and noticed a group gathering off to the side. By the time we figured out this must in fact be the ‘beginners corner’, there were about 20 people standing, crowded around one presenter. We made our way over, but by this time the session had already begun and the crowd continued to grow to about 40 people. Those of us who found ourselves in the unfortunate position of being near the back, couldn’t see what was happening, pieces being displayed, or hear the speaker. So sadly, I really didn’t come away with any information.
Immediately following this was the regular monthly meeting which was geared towards experienced beekeepers – club business, followed by a guest speaker. The main presenter, a Bee Inspector, was scheduled for 1/2 hour to speak about Integrated Pest Management – a topic that was obviously way over our heads, but we tried our best to follow along. I must say though, it might be enough to scare newcomers off of raising honeybees if your first introduction is full of Mites, Nosema, American and European Foulbrood, Chalkbrood, Varroa…yikes. The presenter spoke for well over an hour, and by that time we had already been there for two hours and unfortunately had to leave. I think there was still to be another presenter, and then a wrap up with refreshments.
Overall, the evening was a little disappointing. There were a lot of newcomers that night, and I think it would have been very helpful to gather us together as a group and assign a volunteer to sit with us and talk about basic beekeeping 101, answer questions etc. I had hoped to leave there with confidence knowing where to buy equipment, where to get local bees, how to set up etc, but instead I left a bit disappointed after all that wait. 😦
There is another beekeeping club that is about a 45 minute drive from where we live, so perhaps it is one we will check out in the near future.
This weekend we are meeting with someone who was a beekeeper for many years. He has offered to share his experience and knowledge so maybe this this is something that will help us get started. We really need to learn from someone who has experience raising bees in our West Coast climate.