Busy as bees

Crowd at the bee yard.

The Fairfield County Beekeepers Association marked its fifth anniversary with a new meeting place and full Beginner Beekeeping classes.

FCBA formed in 2019 to give beekeepers in or near Fairfield County a place to mingle with other beekeepers, learn about best management practices, provide outreach to the community about honey bees and the environment, and attract and train new beekeepers.

When the club was told last November that it needed to find a new meeting place, the Central Ohio Coon Hunters Club, on Coonpath Road, offered their club house as a meeting place and a big open field for FCBA’s apiary. The Coon Hunters Club does conservation projects and plans to create an insect-friendly field of wildflowers. They were hoping to attract some bees and other pollinators to their property.

Each November, news about the FCBA Beginner Beekeeping Scholarship goes out to schools, 4-H and agriculture groups, and to military veterans. The club offers scholarships covering a class, hives and bees, plus year-long mentoring for the scholarship recipients.

Then in early spring, before the bees come out of their winter clusters, FCBA offers day-long educational trainings about how to begin beekeeping. The club helps newcomers get their woodenware hives and order bees. Once spring weather comes, the club offers twice monthly training in their training bee yard (apiary) for the new beekeepers. Experienced mentors are also assigned to those “NewBees” that want them.

The club meets monthly, providing an educational speaker at each meeting, a chance to win a bee related door prize (all donated) and time to hang out and talk bees with other beekeepers. FCBA member volunteers do many outreach activities, like presentations for adult or young people’s groups and provide a huge display of hands-on artifacts about bees, activities for kids and a live observation hive at many festivals and fairs around Fairfield County.

FCBA will have a live demonstration in the bee yard and a booth of hands-on artifacts for the Central Oho Coon Hunters Family Day in June. FCBA also sells raw, local honey from its members.

FCBA meets every month except December on the third Tuesday of the month, at 7 p.m. The training bee yard is scheduled to meet at the club apiary on the property, at 6 p.m. on the Tuesday of the club meeting. There is typically another training yard demonstration on another Tuesday in the month, at 6 p.m. as well. Information about scheduled bee yard dates are on the group’s Facebook page.

Visitors are welcome to attend a meeting to learn more. Information can be found on the club website at fairfieldcountybeekeepers.org and on the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/fairfieldcountybeekeepers.org. Yearly membership is $15 for a single and $25 for a family One can join online at Square store, tinyurl.com/fcbashop. You don’t have to be a beekeeper to join.

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