Warm Colors Apiary
Bonita & Dan Conlon
2 South Mill River Rd. South Deerfield, MA. 01373
About our 2016 Workshop & Class Schedule
Dear beekeepers & future beekeepers,
We are pleased to offer the following programs for the 2016 bee season. Each has a topic that focuses on the tasks associated with the management of your bee colony.
They are listed according to the date they are scheduled. Please call a few days ahead of the date to confirm it has not changed. We will reschedule programs that focus on bee yard activities if the forecast is for unsuitable weather. Most sessions will begin in our bee house reviewing the subject, distributing handouts, answering questions. The second half of our sessions will take place in the bee yard using active hives. Please bring protective clothing to those classes where live bees are handled. Sessions typically last 2 ½ hours.
To get the most from these programs I suggest you read any required text, take notes as we will cover the subjects in detail, and ask questions during the session or later by email. I may respond to some emails by including the entire group if the answer is of general interest. In the bee yard wear protective gear, feel free to take pictures (some will be hive shots showing symptoms, not commonly found in most colonies), and take a minute to introduce yourself to the other participants. I have an agenda for these gatherings, but I like to keep them informal to respond to your individual needs.
This season I am trying something new. I will be scheduling days for volunteers to work in our bee yards. It is a new idea prompted by many of you asking to spend time working at Warm Colors Apiary. I have been reluctant to include volunteers as it can slow things down having to explain each series of tasks, to correct management inconsistent with my procedures, and to check the volunteer’s work. My newly enlightened thinking is that most beekeeping tasks are learned by repetitive practice. I have always felt that backyard beekeepers would benefit from working in many hives (have a greater number to compare and observe seasonal differences) then they can get by keeping one or two colonies. Many of the jobs we do at Warm Colors can be taught quickly and the volunteer might repeat it 20-50 times. It differs from a workshop in that you may only do a few tasks, without getting the overview I try to provide in the classes. You will need to do some follow up reading to fill in the gaps. It will benefit you, by providing experience and insights not available to many beekeepers outside a commercial apiary. The deal is that you help by working in exchange for the practical training you receive. If this appeals to you, please let me know in the spring. We can only supervise a few people on any workday, so signing up in advance is a requirement. This is a new idea, so have patience if I am slow to respond or unable to accommodate your schedule.
The 2016 programs will take place at our South Deerfield Apiary. If there is a change in venue those who pre-registered will be notified in advance. I think this season offers something of interest for all levels of beekeeping. Bonita & I have invested the past sixteen years in building our honey & candle business. Having a successful apiary gives us a foundation to better administer our mission of encouraging new beekeepers, providing up to date programs that teach sustainable, practical beekeeping based on science and proven management practices. I hope to see you at one of our programs.
Dan Conlon / Beekeeper
2016 Workshop & Class Schedule at Warm Colors Apiary
“Beginning in Beekeeping – starting your first hive”
This is for the starting beekeeper. It is an entry level program that focuses on your first year. We discuss equipment, acquiring bees, protective clothing, and the tasks necessary to start your first beehive. The cost is $175.00. This includes three (2 ½ hour) workshop sessions, a textbook, Dan’s handouts, and a Warm Colors DVD (A Day in the Life of a Bee Farm). Package bees & equipment are available for an additional cost.
Session #1 – Sunday March 6th, 2016 This session introduces you to the history of beekeeping, honeybee biology, behavior, and the equipment used by modern beekeepers. 1PM-3:30PM – there is no bee yard time with this session. Textbook, DVD, and equipment will be available. Package bees can be ordered at this session for the April pickup, and equipment can be purchased at our store.
Session #2 – Sunday March 20th, 2016 A year in the life of a beekeeper. The focus is on seasonal management, what the beekeeper does and why? We cover putting the bees into the new hive, and the first season of care month by month. 1PM-3:30PM – Hive opening if weather allows, no protective clothing needed. Dan’s “Seasonal Management” will be handed out.
Session #3 – Saturday April 16th, 2016 Installing a package of bees, introducing the queen, and the growing your colony. This date may change as it will take place the weekend package bees arrive. Dan’s instructions on “The Care & Feeding of Package Bees” included. Note that this is a Saturday 1PM-3:30PM – most of the time will be spent with live bees. If you ordered bees, they will be picked up today!
5/15/2016 Cost: $45.00
Sunday May 15th, 2016 / 1PM-3:30PM Spring is when most of the critical bee tasks take place. This is a proactive time when the beekeeper can have the most impact on the development, health and honey production of their overwintered colony. We will review what to anticipate, how to evaluate the strength and future productivity of the hive, and what supportive or corrective activities are most useful to the colony’s health. This is aimed at the second season beekeeper and for those experienced wanting a review, and update, of best management practices.
6/5/2016 – 6/12/2016 – 6/26/2016 Cost: $60.00
Sundays June 5th, June 12th, & June 26th, 2016 / 1PM-3:30PM. Want to learn how we raise queens at Warm Colors here is the opportunity. I will teach you to do the work and you will provide the labor. Each segment will provide hands on tasks in our queen yards that will train you to raise queens (start to finish) while getting an inside look at our management. This is for experienced beekeepers wanting to learn sustainable apiary practices. I am limiting the number of participants – to give each person individual training. You must register, in advance, with Dan to participate. Textbook included.
“Mites & Common Diseases – diagnosis, prevention and treatment”
7/10/2016 Cost: $45.00
Sunday July 10th, 2016 / 1PM-3:30PM. This workshop is in response to many beekeeper requests to learn how to evaluate colonies, test for mites & disease, and effectively treat for common ailments of honeybees. At Warm Colors we are continually identifying and testing methods for managing healthy colonies. Only practices that are least harmful to our bees, and that do not introduce contaminants into the hive environment are considered sustainable. We rely on early detection of potential problems, naturally proven queens, and beekeeping that measures colony health. Our goal is to provide proactive intervention before the disease or mites have created irreversible damage to the colony. Mites, Nosema, AFB, EFB, and viruses will be reviewed and practical treatment methods will be demonstrated. Bring your protective clothing as we will be working in the bee yard. Dan’s handout included.
8/21/2016 Cost $45.00
Sunday August 21st, 2016 / 1PM-3:30PM. Winter in the Northeast is the final exam for beekeepers. This program reviews those tasks & activities that will increase the likelihood that your bees will survive. Winter preparation begins in August when there is still time to correct deficiencies in the requirements for successful wintering. We will review and demonstrate inspecting the hive, evaluating the queen, late season feeding and common reasons bees do not survive the winter. Dan’s handout “Wintering Honeybees in the Northeast” included.
“Annual Warm Colors Honey Festival”
Saturday September 17th, 2016 /10AM-4PM. Join Bonita and Dan as we celebrate the honeybee and beekeeping. The event is free, family friendly, and educational. We will have bee demonstrations, cooking with honey, mead making, and tours of the apiary. Taste this year’s honeys, enjoy a honey ice cream cone, and sample mead and beer made with Warm Colors honey. This year we have improved the access road to our back fields, the Mill River, and our 60 acres of woodlands. A new bee yard has been set up for research. A schedule of activities will be posted on our website in August. Explore our bee farm, learn from our speakers, and enjoy the nature of western Massachusetts. This will be our fifteenth year hosting the honey festival. We hope you will join us.