Bill Smith is the newest Vermont Certified Beekeeper. He provided us with his thoughts on beekeeping in Vermont and the VBA...
My life as a bee keeper started about 9 or 10 years ago. I was frustrated year after year trying to persuade a local bee keeper to put a couple of hives in my orchard. I got fed up to the point I decided to get my own hives, not wanting to be a bee keeper at all but seeing no alternative.
I picked up a nuc colony the next spring and joined the VBA. Things were going great with my hive when I signed up at the VBA summer meeting to work the Tunbridge Fair that September with a more experienced bee keeper.
There were only about two dozen bee keepers at the meeting so I felt obliged to pitch-in and volunteer.
I did pretty well that year with over 100 lbs of honey from my nuc. I arrived at the fair on my appointed day to man my shift expecting I could learn something from my colleague while I sold honey to the public. Curiously, my partner was no where in sight. I got brief instructions on what to do with the money at the end of the night and was quickly on my own. I figured my partner was a little late and I would just put off any
questions until they arrived, sending the curious on to the Cabot cheese table for free samples. I answered a few questions and sold some honey, still, no partner. By the end of the night I answered most everything they threw at me, my partner never arrived. I was amazed with how much I had learned in that first season and enjoyed sharing my new found knowledge.
I never returned to the Tunbridge Fair but have had numerous opportunities since to share my beekeeping knowledge with the curious public. In 2009 and 2010 I worked the VBA table at the Burlington Farmers Market answering general questions and promoting the VBA. In 2010 I worked the VBA table at the "Thursdays at the Intervale" food series answering questions and providing honey samples.
I enjoy sharing ideas and experience with other beekeepers as well. I am a regular attendee at the monthly Chittenden County Beekeepers meeting and have held workshops at my home the past two years covering hive equipment, the building of boxes, and the construction and wiring of frames. I have also assisted at a couple of the VBA summer workshops.
In my own neighborhood I'm the local bee expert. I consult with neighbors and acquaintances on their bee problems, I have mentored a neighbor beginning bee keeper the past 3 years and provided honey for an elementary school program on sustainable agriculture.
I have found sharing what I have learned to be one on the most satisfying aspects of this hobby I have enjoyed the past 10 years.
- Bill, thanks for all you do for beekeeping in Vermont.