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Beekeeping class to begin Jan. 24

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The Person County Beekeepers Association will offer its annual 10-week course beginning Thursday, Jan. 24 to everyone interested on how to become a beekeeper.

Person County Beekeepers Association President Bob Brauer and club members are in charge of training all new attendees interested in beekeeping who will be eligible to obtain certification through the state.

In order to obtain certification attendees will be required to take a state mandated written and practical exam.

Brauer has been a member of the Beekeepers Association since 2014. He said the Beekeeper’s Association is one of the few program’s that have been endorsed by the North Carolina State Beekeepers.

The North Carolina State Beekeepers Association is a state-wide program that encourages beekeeping at both the state and national levels.

“We encourage people to sign up that are interested in helping our pollinators and becoming beekeepers. It is a very comprehensive course with very qualified people,” said Brauer.

A pretty significant attendance has been seen over Brauer’s last four years of teaching the course. Classes vary in size averaging with an approximate of 25 people.

The course will cover the beginning stages of becoming a beekeeper, how to obtain bees, setting up bees and their bees nest, proper gear to wear when handling bees and how to treat them daily.

Although there are distinct harvest seasons bees tend to still work during their off season. Person County’s honey harvest season begins in July.

Honey harvest schedules vary depending on an area’s colder and warmer climates. Person County’s maple flowers usually begin to start putting out nectar pollen in early January giving honeybees a kickstart to their season along with their newborn bees.

Queen bees take approximately 21 days to lay their eggs and have their workers bees getting them prepared for the spring season.

According to Brauer there are three different levels of beekeeping which are entry level, journeyman and master beekeeping.

“Beekeeping has gotten more challenging in recent years. The older beekeepers will tell you that it used to be so easy because you used to set up the boxes and you would leave them alone to make honey and harvest the honey and life is good,” said Brauer.

Beekeepers must keep a close eye on bees since they are challenged by several diseases. The Varroa Mite is the biggest disease transmitter infesting bee colonies in North America.

“You can think of it like a small tick that gets on the bee itself. In fact it is related to the tick. It is an arachnid that gets on the honeybee and it does two things: it sucks its blood and it vectors diseases,” said Brauer.

These diseases cannot be completely eliminated but they can be treated. The Beekeepers Association will teach future beekeepers how to monitor a bee’s mite levels, how to know when they have reached a critical condition along with the proper treatments to help bees reach a stable condition.

“You never complete your learning. You are always learning new things. There are always new challenges and as a part of our monthly meeting we typically have a speaker that talks about some topic of interest,” said Brauer.

Speakers will discuss a variety of topics from nectar sources, bees, favorite nesting flowers and proper gear and equipment to use when beekeeping.

The Beekeepers Association meets the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Person County Office Building.

More information regarding the NCSBA can be found at https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/about.

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