Friday, June 22, 2012

Middlesex, Oxford, Elgin Beekeepers Association Annual Bee Yard Meeting

Every year in June the "MOE", Middlesex Oxford, Elgin Beekeeper's Association ( meet at a beekeeper's yard.

It's a chance for the experienced and non experienced to get together where we can get some hands on the bees and learn from those that have been beekeepers for years.

[Photo - Albert Devries holding up a frame of queen cups]
I remember a couple years back when we held the event in my bee yard that I learned more in 10 minutes with an experienced beekeeper than reading all kinds of books.

You just can beat some good old fashioned hands-on training.

This year we met in Elgin County at Albert Devries' home where he raises Buckfast bees.

He was trained as a beekeeper in Guelph but for a while other occupations kept him busy.

Recently he's started working for Clovermead Apiaries.  He was quick to recommend following your dreams and was very content to be doing work that he loves.

On his property was a lovely ravine with a creek.  Multiple hives were nestled there among the trees.

Dappled sunlight was lovely, mixed with just enough shade to make it comfortable.

We geared up and formed groups of beginners and queen rearing wannabees.

I was asked to mentor a group of beginners and so we gathered around a grouping of hives.

Albert breeds and sells queens too.  He demonstrated queen breeding, showing a frame filled with queen cups.

This is when I learned that when grafting tiny larvae into the queen cups that they cannot be flipped.

They only have breathing spiracles on one side of their body.  So if the larvae is flipped in the pool of royal jelly it will drown.

Everyone took turns prying frames from hives and holding up the bees.

We saw queen cups (empty), drone cells, drones and workers.

[Photo - new beekeepers try their hand at grafting larvae into queen cups]

Frames were passed around and even my mother got in on the act and held up a frame--with no veil or hat on!

Afterwards we returned to the shade trees and our lawn chairs and enjoyed some cool drinks and sandwiches.  Of course the talk was all about bees, naturally.

It was a good day.

If you're interested in purchasing Buckfast queens you can contact Albert at 519-868-9429 or via email at 
[Photo - my Mom holding a frame of bees.]
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