Bee­keep­ing club abuzz with learn­ing

The Bay Chronicle - - OUT & ABOUT - BAYLEY MOOR

The Kerik­eri Bee­keep­ing Club is abuzz with mem­bers learn­ing how to work along­side hon­ey­bees.

The club, which now has 45 mem­bers, meets to learn from ex­pe­ri­enced bee­keep­ers (api­arists) how to best care for their hives, share suc­cess sto­ries with other hob­by­ists and learn from mis­takes.

Club spokes­woman Sharon Gen­til says the aim of the club is to pro­mote knowl­edge and aware­ness of safe bee­keep­ing prac­tice.

She says bee­keep­ing is not just about hav­ing bees.

‘‘It’s na­ture, it has its own set of rules - so you are try­ing to work along­side them.’’

Gen­til says mem­bers are lucky enough to learn from ex­pe­ri­enced bee­keep­ers Dan Lam­bert and Gavin White.

‘‘They have so much knowl­edge and it’s awe­some they are work­ing along­side us.’’

The group be­gan in­for­mal gath­er­ings around 18 months ago, with more struc­tured monthly meet­ings start­ing a few months ago.

Meet­ings in­clude talks about spring in­spec­tions, dis­ease checks, and food lev­els.

‘‘When you have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing and are shown how to in­spect hives, stop hives from swarm­ing and pro­tect them from dis­ease you are man­ag­ing the hives ef­fi­ciently,’’ Gen­til says.

‘‘You re­duce the chance of los­ing a hive and the end re­sult is good bees, healthy bees and of course lots of honey.’’

Gen­til, who has kept her own hives for the last four years, says peo­ple who don’t have bees are also wel­come to visit the club.

‘‘If peo­ple want to get in­volved, they don’t have to have bees to be in the club. You can learn bee skills and how to have suc­cess­ful hive man­age­ment.

‘‘Peo­ple can come along and ask ques­tions so they will learn and have a bet­ter idea of whether they want to have bees,’’ Gen­til says.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing to have bees, it’s so re­ward­ing see­ing the ladies out there do­ing their thing.’’

You can be­gin your bee­keep­ing hobby with a nu­cleus hive (nucs.) Nucs con­sist of a small colony of bees in­clud­ing a queen bee.

Start­ing with a small colony of bees al­lows you to gain con­fi­dence in han­dling bees as the colony ex­pands, Gen­til says.

The club, which is part of Api­cul­ture New Zealand, meets once a month on a Thurs­day.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact kerik­eribee­keep­ing­club@gmail.com

Pete Mas­ters and Dan Lam­bert in­spect­ing a frame.

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