Beekeeper shares thoughts on queen rearing

—Kimberly Donnelly photo

Mike Palmer will discuss queen rearing in the sideline apiary at the Backyard Beekeeper Association monthly meeting at Norfield Church in  Weston, Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Palmer has been keeping bees in the northern Champlain valley for nearly 40 years, producing quality extracted and cut comb honey.

In an attempt to create a sustainable apiary, he raises queens and nucleus colonies that thrive in his northern climate. He believes that by producing local stocks of bees from colonies that are productive, healthy, and have the ability to withstand the long Vermont winters, we will be able to lead our bees out of the dead end they have fallen into.

He shares his knowledge, expertise, and management plan with many beekeepers around the country, both online and at state and local beekeeper’s meetings.

The Back Yard Beekeepers Association (BYBA) is one of the nation’s largest regional clubs for beekeeping hobbyists. It is dedicated to promoting beekeeping as a hobby, and spreading the good word about the remarkable honey bee.

For some time now, Mr. Palmer has been trying to get beekeepers to raise and winter their own nucleus colonies, as a way to attain some degree of sustainability in their apiary. He couldn’t be more pleased with beekeepers’ acceptance of the plan.

Now that so many beekeepers have begun raising and wintering their own honey bee stocks, it seems appropriate that the next step is taken: raising one’s own queens from your best stocks, to populate your nucleus colonies.

There are nine monthly meetings of the BYBA that begin at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month in January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October and November. All are held at Norfield Church.

There is usually a meeting designed specifically for new beekeepers at 6:30 (prior to the regular meetings). The Wannabees is a program offered for children.

These events are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit  backyardbeekeepers.com.

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