New beekeeping club forms

By Theresa Garee
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Jeannie Saum
Steve Saum inspects a frame of bee brood (capped larvain the pupa stage).

Around 50 beekeepers, ranging from novice to experienced, gathered at the Fairfield Main Library on Jan. 19 to form a new beekeepers club.

“We wondered if there was a need and there really is, we’re tickled.” Jeannie Saum.

Saum and husband, Steve, pulled together a list of individuals registered as beekeepers with the state of Ohio who lived in and/or next to Fairfield County.

They sent out postcards announcing their hopes of a forming a local beekeepers club.

Messenger photo by Theresa Garee
Bees stay warm in their beehive boxes on the Saum farm. Most beekeepers feed bees fondant during the winter months, which helps feed the bees and keep condensation down within the hive.

Other clubs do exist in the area, but are generally a long drive to participate in.

“I was an original member of ECOBA (East Central Ohio Beekeepers Association). I haven’t been to a meeting since they moved to Zanesville,” said Jon Cleary, a beekeeper of 35 years.

The group separated into brainstorming session for the goals they would have as a beekeeping club. There were several ideas attendees shared of what they would want the club to partake in, from offering youth scholarships to hands-on field work.

Mike Dosec of the Greater Grand Lake Beekeepers Association attended as a representative of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association (OSBA) and summed up the groups’ goal, “It will be social but the purpose of the club is education.”

Dosec answered questions regarding the group being a part of OSBA and spoke of benefits such as reduced prices for educational speakers and liability insurance.

The group voted to delay making the decision to join OSBA as well as the vote for an official club name. They did, however, have consensus on meeting dates, opting for the third Tuesday of every month to ensure members could remain active with the other local clubs.

St. Mark Catholic Church will be their regular meeting place as Pastor Peter Gideon, a beekeeper for 40 years, offered the space. Gideon also mentioned hopes for using the land near the church as the location for hands-on workshops and pollinating gardens.

The group, largely made up of Fairfield County residents, is excited to have a club closer to home that will help educate beekeepers throughout the seasons.Both novice and veteran beekeepers can share knowledge on the hobby and intricacies of it.

“The future of beekeeping is in the younger people,” Cleary said.

The group’s next meeting is Feb. 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church, 324 Gay St, Lancaster.

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