Association Again Offers Beginners’ Beekeeping Course

CREAMERY PA – With growing public interest in beekeeping and harvesting honey as a hobby, and consumers increasingly aware of the value of natural foods, the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association of Pennsylvania will offer a beginners’ beekeeping course as a monthly eight-class series starting Feb. 16 (2021; Tuesday) at 6 p.m., it announced this week.

The 2021 course continues a tradition of hands-on beekeeping in the county, the association said. It offers timely education intended to meet seasonal beekeeping needs, and includes sessions at the apiary followed by classroom lessons filled with beekeeping insight and information. The classes also may be helpful to those who have been raising honey bees for a few years and want refresher techniques, it added.

Online registration is available here. The initial class will be held online using the Zoom virtual conferencing platform. Subsequent 6 p.m. classes (usually on the third Thursday of every month through September) will be held in part at the apiary of the Montgomery County 4-H Center, 1015 Bridge Road, just south of Skippack.

A mail-in form is available for download from the association website, here.

Single-student tuition costs $120 for the series; couples who attend together will be charged only $200. Registered participants receive the classroom and apiary sessions and accompanying materials, membership in both the county and state beekeepers’ associations, and tickets to the county fall banquet.

Class size is limited, and enrollments accepted in advance on a first-to-register, first-enrolled basis. No one should expect to walk in an be seated, the association noted. Bee veils are required at the apiary, and anyone lacking a veil cannot be permitted near the hives.

The association serves hobbyist and professional beekeepers in Montgomery, Bucks, and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. Its mission is to provide education, hands-on training, support, and fellowship in all aspects of beekeeping. Both experienced beekeepers and novices participate in its monthly meetings, field trips, and social events. General membership meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.

In addition to producing honey, honey bees produce beeswax and help pollinate agricultural crops, home gardens, and wildlife habitats, according to a fact sheet from the National Honey Board, an industry trade organization. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80 percent of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honey bees, and about a third of the total human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated fruits, legumes and vegetables.

Pennsylvania bee hives photo by The Post from its archive