Beekeeping club abuzz with learning
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.
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Pete Masters and Dan Lambert inspecting a frame.