As I sit in my study this morning, I am attending the 2020 National Honey Show from outside of London. I've dreamt of going to this show for years, watching speaker videos on YouTube, and wanting to wander the aisles of this competitive and incredible honey show. So, for the next three days I plan to be up and on the computer by 6am, attending this show via the internet. Unfortunately, I cannot see the live honey show, but can still participate remotely.
Well, I don’t have to tell you that 2020 has been very different for all of us. For new beekeepers, it is certainly harder to meet with the experienced members of the local clubs and ask advice. Newcomers: take the initiative, reach out to club members yourself. Ask members to talk bees with you, or see your hives. Do what it takes to become part of the beekeeping community.
Clubs are adapting. One nice change is the transfer to the use of Chalkboard and Zoom for monthly club meetings, all done safely through the internet. I have been able to attend meetings and listen to some incredible speakers, though I deeply miss the synergy of a face-to-face meeting. I long to just sit around and talk bees with other beekeepers. The exchange of knowledge at those times is credible. I belong to four county clubs (in addition to MSBA) and appreciate every one of them. I suggest you consider reaching out to additional clubs in the counties surrounding your apiaries
As we take account of our year in beekeeping, I am finding that I've worked my bees more regularly, but in smaller chunks of time. My hive records are some of the best we have ever had… still almost complete! 75% of our honey has been bottled, and is on its way to other homes and stomachs. Our honey was lighter in color than usual less Tulip Poplar red-brown honey was pulled. We worked with mentees regularly, but everyone stayed veiled. Hands-on experience makes a difference.
As for MSBA, please thank our volunteers who keep the state club moving. Check out our webpage: the webmaster, Phil Frank has been adding content, and making it easier to maneuver. Phil keeps a calendar on the webpage, so please add your local club's meeting times if they are not listed.
Meanwhile, if any Maryland club is willing to welcome other beekeepers from MSBA to attend their local club Zoom meetings, please consider sharing your meeting information with MSBA for distribution throughout the state. Most Zoom license allow up to 300 attendees. Don’t let those learning opportunities be wasted! Contact me or Maureen Jais-Mick who manages our email communications. Members, watch for MSBA notices from Maureen delivered directly to your email account with learning opportunities such as lectures or classes. For educational outreach, the Bee Squad at UMD will be working with MSBA to offer more class/lecture opportunities over the next months.
November is when we look back on the last beekeeping year, and plan how we will do things differently next year. I ask each of you to set a goal to become involved in your beekeeping community. Volunteer to take on a job in your club, consider mentoring a new beekeeper and letting them work hives with you. We need each other to be successful.
Meanwhile if you have an idea for a class you want MSBA to host, please contact me directly. I welcome the input.
by Kim Mehalick