Beekeeping in Vermont

Beekeeping in Vermont

Jacob Esch

The following were recognized for their support of beekeeping in Vermont at the August 12 Summer Meeting:

Jacob Esch - Friend of the Bees

Jacob Esh has been the past president and a mainstay of beekeeping support in southwestern VT for more than 40 years.

He started keeping bees in the early 1970's. His first colonies were swarms and he learned by successes and failures. In the early 1980's Jacob expanded his hive count by about 4 hives each year and became an A.I. Root dealer in Bennington.

In 2006 he wrote/published his book Beekeeping: Profitable Enterprise. He was named VT Beekeeper of the Month in 2005 by the VBA. Later he also sold Brushy Mountain woodenware.

He and Lorraine have a large vegetable and fruit garden as well as an apiary behind their home on Harwood Hill in Bennington.

Jacob taught himself how to care for honey bees learning by experience, reading texts, watching videos and attending talks and workshops.

He led the Bennington County Beekeepers Club for more than 25 years as the president. He also started the club’s winter short course. Jacob designed the first courses and was ;part of the group a group who taught it. His explanations of hive activities have been such that one feels a connection to the life of the colony.

Over the years he’s had bee-yards in Bennington, Sandgate, Merck Forest, Pownal, and Hoosick Falls. He’s done many cut-outs perched high on a ladder, captured swarms, bought nucs and packages. It varies from year to year.

Above all Jacob speaks about bees as fellow creatures, ones with which he has a relationship. He is welcoming to new beekeepers and often invites folks to his home yard to be able to demonstrate a variety of methods.

In presenter, Peggy Apple-Woods’ words, “If it wasn’t for Jacob, there probably wouldn’t be a beekeeping club in southwestern, Vermont.”

Outstanding Efforts on Honeybee Education - Jeffrey Hamelman & Peter Hadeka

Jeffrey HamelmanJeffrey HamelmanJeffrey Hamelman hosts multiple informative workshops on how to manage bees, and beehives, always has the answer to questions and makes himself available for follow ups outside of the workshop itself.

Jeffrey has hosted and taught (along with the late Bill Taft) the VBA South Yard workshops for about 6 years. We get feedback from new beekeepers about how welcoming and helpful he is to the new folks.

Peter HadekaPeter HadekaPeter Hadeka always goes the extra mile (many miles some days!) for the VBA, for members, and for our beloved bees. Peter is a long-time, outstanding volunteer at many of the VBA events: Tunbridge Fair, VT Flower Show, Summer and Winter VBA Meetings and more events that I don't even know about.

He has given beekeeping demonstrations at Billings Farm and other events and answers calls for organizations looking for someone to present about beekeeping and pollinators.

Peter continues his own education by attending many beekeeping workshops and seminars. When asked, he freely gives beekeeping advice which is often accompanied by research articles and/or videos. His interest, enthusiasm, knowledge and generosity about bees and beekeeping is inspiring.

He has had several past mentees and continues to serve as a mentor for some and a coach for many.

He also is known as the “Bluebird Nest Box Man!

Peter is a frequent helper and contributor at local county club workshops and places like VT Beekeeping Supply. Often runs “errands” for other beekeepers. He has been one of our key volunteers helping to put on this summer meeting.