Our local bee club (Calgary & District Beekeepers Association) coordinates a nice summertime event, Saturday at the Hive. Experienced beekeepers offer to show their colonies to newer beekeepers. The guest list is limited and cleared through the bee club, but all the risk, planning, and teaching is left to the host. I thought it would be cancelled because of Covid-19, but after the province eased meet-ups a bit, these Saturdays at the Hive gatherings proceeded.
A friend asked me to attend his event. I was the old-timer who could help answer questions and demonstrate beekeeping tactics. Of course I said yes – it was a chance to meet some new beekeepers and enjoy a light delicious dinner and bee talk. Who could say “No” to that?
So, last Saturday, I drove over to Mark Soehner’s home and rolled my wheelchair into his back yard. I arrived late – Mark had already set up some tables with bee equipment and samples of his award-winning backyard honey. Ten folks showed up, most wearing covid masks. You can see mine, left.
After introductions and some background (Mark has kept bees for four years and has lived at his lovely home for 41 years!), the history of each hive was detailed: Mark had made 2 splits a few days earlier; a couple hives were strong honey-makers; another was a swarm that Mark caught eight days earlier. There was a lot to describe and demonstrate to the group of visitors.
If you decide to host a similar gathering in these awkward deadly days of Covid, you will be doing a big favour to a lucky group of beginning beekeepers – a long as you don’t make them all sick, of course. Encourage them to wear masks. Have plenty of space around the demonstration hives. Search for a couple of good example frames (pollen, queen cell, pearl brood, etc.), hold the frame away from your body and let people walk by, single file, like they might when they are visiting Mona Lisa at the Louvre. You can do this and keep everyone safe, entertained, and informed.