As A.B.C entered in to its second year, I prepared for more focused and skill set based educational programming. The top-bar hive management courses offered new beekeepers insight on how to manage TBH’s but also how to harvest honey and winterize the colonies. The Queen Rearing Workshop though, was an even greater success!
On July 2nd and 3rd, we made our way out to Chiron Farms, Terry Williards organic herb farm out near Springbank. There were 12 participants in total, and Sam Comfort flew out from upstate NY to facilitate the program! In the weeks before, I prepared colonies for natural queen rearing using the Miller Method. I also prepared hives for splitting and artificial swarming! The two day course was going to include a hefty schedule of hands-on beekeeping!
When the Saturday morning came on we all settled in eating homemade granola, fresh bread and preserves, as well as fresh fruit! Kartina Gimbel of Matters of the Hearth took care of all of the snacks and meals for the full weekend, making sure everyone was nourished! We introduced ourselves, talked about what our goals of the weekend were, and made a game plan for the full weekend! First thing we did were inspections of the hives and had a look at the swarm that Sam and I had caught the day before! It was MASSIVE! After the inspections we made some plans for splits and natural queen cells, which had come out beautifully!
Over the weekend we made 4 splits (including 1 in to a warre), hived 1 nuc, 1 swarm, and introduced 5 new queen cells. We looked at grafting techniques, and surveyed the important times for a hive to go broodless as an integrated pest management strategy. All in all, everyone’s initially stated goals were met by the end of the course.
What I feel the best part though, was our final hour focussing on how the course participants wanted to see the local Community Hive develop over the summer and out of that they started the `Brood Bank`, `Comb Bank`, and ‘Tool Bank’; all accessible at http://www.thecommunityhive.org chartroom! We also set plans for mating yards within the city next year to start our own breeding program as well as a queen cell sharing program! All in all, we made plans to make Calgary bee-resilient and self-sufficient!
I look forward to putting on another Queen Rearing Course in 2012 and integrate more natural processes of queen cell raising, and focus more on the honeybee genetics and building up good bee stock! And with a breeding program beginning this coming spring, it wouldn’t be hard to get hands in and on the project! If you are interested in Queen Rearing Program or have any questions about A.B.C’s programming contact info @ backyardbees . ca