Report on Spring Beekeeper Conference

by Ron Schwartz

I recently attended the Arkansas Beekeepers Association Spring Conference held in Searcy. I’d like to encourage all Arkansas beekeepers to attend these conferences. Your local association may contain a wealth of knowledge, but these conferences expose you to speakers and information that you will not get locally.  They are well worth the time and effort to attend.

The main presenters were Ralph “Buddy” May and David Burns. Buddy is from South Carolina and spoke of dribbling Oxalic Acid for varroa control, the value of propolis, and beekeeper mentoring. David spoke of beekeeping forensics (actually how to keep from having to do it), feral colony removal, and honey bee nutrition.

There are several things I took away from the conference:

  • Propolis is valued by many for its health properties. I’ve been mostly just cussing this stuff and throwing it away. No more!
  • I haven’t been near aggressive enough in controlling varroa.
  • Mentoring is essential for new beekeeper success.

The Fall conference will be held the last weekend in October in Little Rock. You are encouraged to make plans to attend.

Pulaski County Farm Bureau Youth Beekeeping Scholarship

The Pulaski County Farm Bureau and Bemis Honey Bee Farm want to encourage three young adults to begin keeping honey bees by giving them everything they need to start right.  The Young Farmer and Rancher Beekeeping Scholarship is open to all Arkansas resident (not just those in Pulaski County) with an interest in beekeeping, who do not already own honey bees.

The applicant should be actively engaged in their community and have an interest in joining the Farm Bureau.  Interested applicants simply need to submit an application with a brief personal statement on why beekeeping is an interest, and include a letter of recommendation from a non-family member.  Applications are due by April 1, 2018.  Three applicants will be chosen, and the awards presented on April 28, 2018, at the 5th Annual Bee Day at Bemis Honey Bee Farm.

Winners will receive a free 1-year membership in the Pulaski County Farm Bureau, an introductory training course at Bemis Honey Bee Farm, a 3-lb. package of honey bees, and a complete beekeeping starter kit.  The kit includes one complete hive, a beekeeping jacket and veil, a smoker, hive tool and bee brush, and a book on beekeeping.  The total prize package is worth $550.