Held earlier in June 2021, our "Beekeeping Mid-year Maintenance" class continued the recent GBA two-part series to support experienced and brand new beekeepers succeed in our communities.

The online portion focused on sharing insights and tips on growing your hive including nutritional requirements and how to protect your bees in our setting. We can't speak enough about the importance of feeding your bees as we all struggle to get through the drought here in California and upon entering the dearth (lack of food). What we are seeing now is that colonies are on the verge of collapsing mainly from starvation. As beekeepers, we can help our little friends by supplementing their diet with 2:1 sugar syrup and 2x2 inch squares of pollen patties. Just like us, bees need their carbohydrates and protein, too. We might end up hangrily wandering the halls of our homes and offices in search of sustenance; similarly, starving bees do not make for a healthy colony. That's why we focused on the nutritional needs of bees in our class.

On the field day, participants had the opportunity to get involved and inspect two hives: a month-old swarm catch and an existing hive.

2021 June Class – Field Day

GBA member, Penny, lent us her apiary to hold our class and allowed us to use her hives for the hands-on inspection. It was quite a treat as the none of us had seen the hives before, so we were essentially going in blind, and providing a good, first-time inspection experience for all participants. After a thorough inspection on the first colony, frames were passed around and participants were asked to share what they saw. Together we were able to deduce what to do live. On one hive we demonstrated and performed a sugar shake to do a mite check. The second hive had its honey super pulled off by demonstrating a couple of different methods, and then we split the hive. We also treated both hives with apivar since honey supers were not being added.

Our goal at Gilroy Beekeepers Association is to help new and experienced backyard beekeepers be comfortable inspecting their hives and being able to reach out to our club and get the help and resources they need. As always, our thanks to Master Beekeepers and GBA members - Sara Cutrignelli (UC Davis), Arthur Kubogamell (Cornell), Jamie Haskell and Roark Diters - for your invaluable experience and willingness to promote our club's collaboration of teaching/learning! For more information, please contact us.

Seminar Details

Day 1: online at 7 pm
Wednesday, June 2

Join experienced and master beekeepers from the comfort of your computer for the first in our two-part course. We will discuss:

  • How to assess your brood and take corrective actions
  • What you can expect of a healthy hive at this time of the year
  • Identifying and treating for common pests
  • When to give and when to reduce space in a hive
  • Influences on honey production

Note: attendance at this midweek online class is a prerequisite to the practical class at the weekend.

Day 2: at the bee yard at 9 am
Sunday, June 6

Here's your chance to get together with experienced beekeeper mentors and put into practice what you have learned online:

  • Brood assessment
  • Hive expectations/simple fixes
  • Recognizing and testing for common maladies
  • Space - when to give and when to reduce space in a hive
  • Honey - when to or not to extract

Note: each participant is expected to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) including veil, jacket, gloves and boots.

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