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Beekeeping in Vermont

Mid-spring is the time of year when many new beekeepers in Vermont pick up their first nucleus colonies or packages of bees.  If you are one of those just starting out, hopefully you did your homework over the winter and have a pretty good idea of what to do next. You may have read some reference materials, attended a class, and participated in VBA webinars.  Maybe you purchased a book that you can refer to from time to time.  (By the way, the VBA has an excellent list of references designed specifically for new beekeepers under the “Resources” tab on this website.)  But uncertainty or just a lack of confidence may arise about the next task in your bee yard. It’s not uncommon.  Beekeeping may not be rocket science, but it isn’t simple either.  There’s much to learn in the first few years and the VBA is here to help!

If you have only a question or two and just want to check in with an experienced beekeeper from time to time, the newly created Beekeeper’s Helpline is a great resource!  This service enables you to reach out to one of the many experienced Advisors around Vermont who are available by email (and some by phone) to answer your questions.  The best part: it’s a FREE service to all VBA members!!!  Just click on the "Resources" tab at the top of this page followed by “For Beekeepers,” then “The Beekeeper’s Helpline” for further information.

But the best way to learn is by gaining hands-on experience and asking questions.  You didn’t learn how to drive a car just by reading the Driver’s Training Manual, and you won’t learn how to keep bees just by reading articles and attending webinars.  If you know a local beekeeper, perhaps they wouldn’t mind if you visited their apiary occasionally and watched them perform certain tasks.  A more common approach, however, is to attend open-hive workshops in the field.  There are several good ones scheduled in the coming months and many are listed on the VBA website.  The VBA, for example, sponsors an ongoing series of South Yard workshops in Hartland throughout the season. The Vermont Bee Lab and other organizations conduct in-field workshops.  Several local beekeeping clubs at the county level also hold regular open hive events.  These small group gatherings are an excellent way to improve your skills and talk to other beekeepers as well. You can find the list of local clubs, classes, and so much more under the “Resources” tab above followed by “For Beekeepers.”