Thursday, April 27, 2023

Bee Day


Following two days of rain, the sun broke out on a crisp and cool April morning. My first presentation was scheduled to be conducted in the bee yard. As a videographer was connecting my microphone and focusing the cameras on the line of bee hives stretching into the distance, one hundred beekeepers gathered. Thus began Bee Day at Bemis Honey Bee Farm in Little Rock, Arkansas, a day when people came to receive hundreds of packaged colonies and nucleus colonies of honey bees. They also came for speaking presentations and bee yard demonstrations held throughout the day. I was honored to share speaking sessions with Dr. Dewey M. Caron, the person who literally wrote the book on the topic, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. Since Bee Day coincided with Earth Day, Dr. Caron led off with a discussion of the importance of trees and their condition in a world being altered by global warming. He spoke on the biology of honey bee colony reproduction through swarming, and he explained how to read the activity inside bee hives. Alternating with Dr. Caron, I made presentations on the beekeeping year, illustrating how we manage bees that can produce queens in five months but cannot produce them in seven months. I made a presentation on potential pests of bee hives, which include people, pets, livestock, raccoons, possums, skunks, bears, wasps, hornets, ants, and parasitic mites. Dr. Caron concluded our classroom presentations by covering measures to control colony-killing varroa mites. We both emphasized the use of the resources available in the Tools for Varroa Management guide, much of which was written by Dr. Caron. The guide is available through the Honey Bee Health Coalition,


Throughout the day, beekeepers attended demonstrations conducted in the bee yard. A state apiary inspector demonstrated hive inspections, and Jody Carter discussed queen rearing and making colony divisions. Jeremy Bemis demonstrated how to install packaged bees and nucleus colonies in bee hives. Today’s photo: Dr. Dewey M. Caron.