Friday, June 7, 2024

 Informal Bee Yard Visit this Saturday June 8th (tomorrow), 10 AM-12 noon in Pownal

It looks like the weather might hold out! Please feel welcome to join the Bennington Beekeepers' Club tomorrow, June 8, for an informal bee yard visit at the home of former Club president Jeanne Davis, at 173 Pratt Road in Pownal. Please bring your gloves and protective clothing (remember: it's good biosecurity practice, as well as a friendly gesture, to wash your gloves & suit or jacket in unscented detergent the day before visiting someone else's bee yard, as it reduces the risk of spreading pathogens between yards). Should you have questions, Jeanne can be contacted at  .

With apologies for a very last-minute notice, but in hopes of seeing you on Saturday!---
Erin Kiley

Friday, April 26, 2024

 Next Meeting Thursday, May 2, 6:30pm at Bennington Free Library

the next meeting of the Bennington Beekeepers' Club will take place Thursday, May 2, from 6:30--9:00 p.m., in the Rotary Room of the Bennington Free Library. The library is located at 101 Silver Street in Bennington, and on-street parking is available.

The topic of Thursday's meeting will be an open discussion on spring colony management, including when to 'swap boxes', how to prevent swarming, and how to best leverage the very rapid gains that healthy overwintered colonies can begin making once the weather warms up. We can also talk about installing new packages and nucs as needed.

The first half-hour of the meeting will be a potluck dinner to encourage mingling among attendees: while it's not required that you bring anything, we encourage you to bring a dish to share with the group, as well as a cup, flatware and a plate/bowl for yourself, if possible, to cut down on waste (there is a kitchen sink where you can wash your dishes before leaving). At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a raffle of donated items: should you wish to donate raffle items, please bring them (items need not be directly related to honeybees or beekeeping). Raffle tickets will be sold during the potluck dinner ($2 each or $10 for 6), and during the raffle, stubs will be drawn until all items have been claimed. Any dues-paying Club member who brings one or more items to donate to the raffle will be given one free raffle ticket.

While the potluck portion of our meeting begins at 6:30, the Library building's front doors close at 7 pm. If you intend to arrive after 7, you will need to notify someone who is at the meeting to let you in. The Library has specifically asked us not to prop open the building's exterior doors, due to issues they've had in the past with unwanted overnight visitors (human and non-).

Friday, March 15, 2024

 March Meeting 3/21/24 to feature Dan Conlon as guest speaker

The Bennington Beekeepers' Club is glad to announce that our March meeting, hosting Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary, will take place Thursday, March 21, from 6:30--9:00 p.m., in the Rotary Room of the Bennington Free Library. The library is located at 101 Silver Street in Bennington, and on-street parking is available.Our guest speaker this month will be Dan Conlon, a commercial beekeeper in western Massachusetts who, together with his wife Bonita, runs Warm Colors Apiary. Warm Colors specializes in Russian Queens and spring Nucs as members of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association, and was founded in 2000 to produce regional honey from flowers on its eighty acres of woodland, open fields, and wetlands. Warm Colors' mission is to develop, test, and use beekeeping methods that improve the health of the honeybee. Through selective breeding, they endeavor to create and manage a sustainable apiary system that minimizes the use of harmful chemicals and employs the natural defenses an heritable behaviors shown to improve the honeybee's mite tolerance and resistance to disease. For more information on Warm Colors Apiary, please see their website ( ). The title of Thursday's presentation will be 'Honeybee Health and Genetic Selection: Defensive Mechanisms of Honeybees', and it will describe and review Warm Colors' strategy for keeping healthy colonies, improving Queen resistance to disease and pests, as well as suggest management strategies that helps bees. Emphasis will also be placed on how this works for the Russian Breeders' Association. We are fortunate to host Dan, and hope that you will come listen to his talk with us, where beekeepers of all levels will learn.

The meeting will consist of a potluck and chat from 6:30--7:00, a business meeting from 7:00--7:30, and the talk by Dan Conlon will follow until the raffle commences at 8:45. Donated items will be welcome. For details, please see the attached agenda.In hopes of seeing you next Thursday---Erin Kiley

Thursday, March 14, 2024

 Bennington County Beekeepers Meeting - March 21, 2024  6:30-9:00 PM

Bennington Free Library, upstairs

Our next meeting will begin with a 6:30 Potluck Supper and a Business Meeting at 7:00.  If you arrive after 7:00 the library doors will be locked but there will be a sign on the left hand door with a number to call.  Then one of us will come down and let you in!

Our speaker will be Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary in Deerfield MA.  Dan and his wife Bonita are commercial beekeepers in western Massachusetts specializing in certified Russian queens and spring nucs.  They are members of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association. Dan is a past president of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.  He has worked to develop, test and use beekeeping methods that imporve the health of honey bees through selective breeding and sustainable apiary work that minimizes the use of harmful inputs.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

 February 22, 2024 Meeting Newsletter

Location: Rotary Room of the Bennington Free Library, 101 Silver Street, Bennington VT

Upcoming Events 

• “Swarm the Statehouse” Tuesday, February 27 10:30am—12pm at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. 

Organized by Franklin County Beekeepers’ Club. Bring your veils & jackets and draw attention to H.706, the anti-nicotinoid bill, as it hopefully passes from committee. For more information on H.706: . 

Find your representative at , and call them to find out if they support H.706 

Bennington County Reps: 

Bennington-1: Nelson Brownell (Pownal) 

Bennington-2: Timothy Corcoran (Bennington) 

Bennington-2: Dane Whitman (N Bennington) 

Bennington-3: David Durfee (Shaftsbury) 

Bennington-4: Kathleen James (Manchester Ctr) 

Bennington-4: Seth Bongartz (Manchester Ctr) 

Bennington-5: James Carroll (Bennington) 

Bennington-5: Mary Morrissey (Bennington) 

Windham-Windsor-Bennington: Kelly Pajala (S Londonderry) 

Bennington-Rutland: Mike Rice (Dorset) 

Windham-2: Laura Sibilia (W Dover) 

• BennBee Microscopy Workshop: Tentatively on Saturday, March 2 in North Adams at MCLA 

 Registration not required, but welcome (details to come) 

Sydney Miller of Vermont Bee Lab will teach workshop about pests & pathogens 

• SABA Spring Seminar: March 23 ($45/$60). Speakers include Grai St. Clair Rice, Larry Connor, & Paul Kelly. Also have vendors, raffle, and networking. Must register online: 

• Vermont Bee Lab: Community Science Project on pesticide residues present in bee-collected pollen. To participate, need a pollen trap (can buy from VBL at $55/trap, or use your own). Pesticide residue screening is free of charge. Must register by filling out the form: urlid=634&userid=10771&mailid=319 . 

• Vermont Bee Lab: submit samples from live colonies or deadouts free of charge (see information on table)

 Vermont Beekeepers’ Association news 

 March 7, from 7—8:30pm via Zoom: “Prospective Beekeeper Workshop: Stop Here Before you Buy!”, a workshop for learning the basics of housing and managing your first colonies. For new beekeepers. Speakers are Robin Foldesy, Fred Putnam, and others. Must register; see VBA website for details. 

• VBA is promoting the sale of Vermont Honey via a searchable directory of VT honey producers; to opt-in and be listed, please see the VBA website 

• Advisors wanted for “new beekeepers helpline”, see VBA website for details. 

• Honey Bee Health Coalition has released its latest comprehensive ‘Honey Bee Nutrition Guide’, a guide to honeybee nutrition for those who provide their colonies with supplemental feed: . 

In the Apiary… 

• Do not ‘fully’ open a hive in cold weather---don’t pull frames, don’t look for queens---if you have to get in at all, then just get in and get out quickly! 

Why might you have to get in? 

Are they out of food? 

That is one of a very-very few good reasons 

• How do you know how your bees are doing?  

Don’t “trust” the piles of dead in front of the hive: do a “knock check”  

Try to lift the hive: is it heavy, or light? (Indicates how much food they’ve gone through)  

Is the cluster at the top? (peek in very quickly on a warm afternoon to look) 

• If hive is light and cluster is at top, it is an emergency and you need to feed them 

Solid feed only, like sugar bricks, loose sugar (sprayed with water on the surface and allowed to dry), winter patties or fondant (both available commercially)  

Opening the hive when it’s cold may kill your bees, but starvation will kill your bees 

Pollen patties are probably best for later in season: encourages brood rearing Club events and discussion items 

• In lieu of offering our own short course this year, we encourage you to join the short course offered by the nearby Northern Berkshire Beekeepers' Association, which will take place in North Adams on Thursday nights from February 29 to March 28th from 7-8:30 PM. The course will cover basic beekeeping principles, honeybee biology and health. Attendees will receive a course book and each class will be preceded with reading assignments. The cost of the course is $55 which includes the text and a one year membership in the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association. To sign up or for more information contact Jeanne at . 

• BennBee’s own Short Course: Looking ahead to 2025---seeking volunteers to form a committee to standardize curriculum and materials. Will meet less than once per month. Sign up by e-mailing . 

• Mentor and mentee program: Matching up mentors with mentees, and sending a monthly newsletter of questions asked/answered, topical to-do and to-ask lists that mentors & mentees can review together, etc. Seeking volunteers to help organize the program, and seeking mentors/mentees. Sign up by e-mailing . 

• Website and social media presence---also seeking volunteers to meet infrequently and discuss best strategies for revamping and maintaining our web presence. Sign up by e-mailing . 

• Swarm and Cutout list: a publicly viewable list of members who are available to collect swarms and do cutouts. First priority for Club officers and committee members. Sign up by e-mailing . 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

September 14, 2023 In Person Meeting

 The Bennington County Beekeepers Club will meet Sept. 14, 2023 at the Rotary room of the Bennington Free Library from 6:30-9:00.  The first half hour will be a potluck supper.  Bring a dish to share and your own plate, utensils and drink.  After a business meeting we will have a presentation by Amy Musante about American Foul Brood Disease and it's spread in Massachusetts.  Looking forward to seeing you!

Thursday, May 11, 2023


BCBC May meeting,  “Spring Hive Management”   Thursday, 5/11 @ 7 pm. 

If you need a ZOOM invite, email

This is very helpful information, if you are new to beekeeping and a great refresher for everyone else.


Some of the subjects being discussed are:


1.Type of equipment and foundation

2. Burr comb

3. Weather impacts on production and health

4. Inspections and documentation

·  How to... and frequency

·  Removing frames

·  Knowing the biology

·  Brood and population

·  Queen cells

·  Signs of swarming

5. Swarm prevention

6 Swarm control methods

7. Encouraging comb production

8. Mite monitoring and control - some details