FDLTCC to host beekeeping workshop

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, in partnership with the Northeast Minnesota Beekeepers Association, is hosting a day-long workshop called “Beekeeping and More!” on Saturday, February 25, for anyone interested in learning about beekeeping as a hobby or as a commercial enterprise.

The workshop takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the college’s amphitheater and student commons, and pre-registration is encouraged. The first Beekeeping and More workshop held in 2016 drew in more than 150 beekeepers, making it one of the largest beekeeping workshops in northern Minnesota.

Session topics include equipment, general troubleshooting, queen biology, risks to native pollinators, varroa mites, gentle beekeeping, and the challenges of overwintering honeybees in northern climates. Hands-on activities are also a part of the program, during which attendees can learn practical applications for products from the hive.

Experts from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, the Northeastern Minnesota Beekeepers Association, and the Xerces Society will present the sessions and answer questions throughout the workshop. Informational displays, vendors, and door prize drawings will also be a part of the second annual event.

“This will be a great day of learning and information sharing for both novice and experienced beekeepers,” said Courtney Kowalczak, Director of the Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. “There will be plenty of time to meet other beekeepers, ask for advice, get questions answered, and share ideas.”

Opening speaker Roy Ober of the Northeastern Minnesota Beekeepers Association will introduce the basics of beekeeping and cover everything a new beekeeper needs to understand. His talk will cover coexisting peacefully with neighbors, equipment requirements, developing a timeline for a new beekeeper’s first year of beekeeping, getting stung, and more.

Becky Masterman and Jessica Helgen of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad will present information about gentle beekeeping, queen biology, overwintering, and understanding the impact of cultured hives on native bees. They will also provide an in-depth exploration of bee pathogens and their vector, Varroa destructor, and how to help beekeepers using MiteCheck.

Pam Herou of the Xerces Society will present on native bees’ biology, habitat, biggest threats, and how to help them thrive. Informational tables from local authorities on pollinator habitat installation, avoiding invasive plant species, and apiary supplies will be set up in the student commons. Beekeepers will have the opportunity to pre-order native pollinator plant seed mixtures, and will be able to order apiary tools, hives, and more.

The event closes with hands-on activities on making products from the hive, including salves, lotion, and cough syrup.

“One of the workshop highlights will be the demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning about the products that can be made,” said Kowalczak. “It was a highlight at last year’s beekeeping workshop, and I think people will be surprised at the range of products.”

The second annual “Beekeeping and More!” workshop is presented by Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College through support from a USDA-NIFA grant and in partnership with the Northeastern Minnesota Beekeepers Association. The workshop is part of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Institute and Extension programs.

Lunch will be available for purchase from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College’s Environmental Science Club.

Registration is $10.00 for Northeastern Beekeepers Association members, and $15.00 for non-members. Pre-registration is encouraged and available online at www.fdltccbeekeeping.zapevent.com. Same-day registration will be available as space allows, payment by cash or check only.