ASHLEY VANSANT | DAILY NEWS THRIVING HIVE: Beekeeper Tom Garcia displays the work of his honeybees.
THRIVING HIVE: Beekeeper Tom Garcia displays the work of his honeybees.

Archived Story

Notes from a Beekeeper: Anniversaries and Plans

Published 9:34pm Monday, April 14, 2014


Time passes quickly when you are having fun. I recently passed two first-year anniversaries. I celebrated my first year as a beekeeper on March 17th, and I have certainly learned a lot in a year. The Beaufort County Beekeepers also celebrated our first year on April 1. I can hardly believe a year has passed. I am happy that local beekeepers have come together to support each other, and to encourage others to step into the world of beekeeping.

Regarding my beekeeping adventures, one of my colonies died February. They were robbed by other bees, possibly my own. It was a tough loss for me because I put so much effort into trying to help them survive. I wonder what I could have done differently. I guess sometimes, things like that happen. Nature can be brutal and sometimes all the help in the world will not change the outcome. We each live and learn, and I can certainly say that beekeeping is a learning experience—every time you open the hive.

As for the Beaufort County Beekeepers, we are going strong. Our inaugural beekeeping course went very well, with nearly 60 attending. I was certainly surprised to see the large number of attendees. I am glad we have so many people who are interested in beekeeping. I think we all learned a lot, and I look forward to learning more from each other.

My plans for this year are big, as always. First I plan to expand my apiary. Slowly but surely I will reach my initial goal of 100 colonies. Don’t worry neighbors, I promise I will only keep a few of them in my backyard. I will also make sure you get a jar or two of honey, whenever I am able to harvest some.

As you, my wonderful readers, may have noticed, I often walk to my own beat, or take a tangent just because. Usually my tangents emerge from boredom or curiosity, and who knows where things will go from there. Of course, the real reason for my tangents may be because I spent 20 years working for the government in the intelligence business and I am paranoid. So, changing my habits and being unpredictable keeps those Watchers on their toes. Why did I mention that? Well, I figured it is a good lead for the next paragraph.

I tend to experiment, and this bee season is no different. I built a couple of different hive types which I am going to give a try this season. I think they will work, but I guess we will find out. Experimenting is allowed in beekeeping. In fact, I am glad to hear that some of our new beekeepers are choosing to go down their own paths, opting to avoid the traditional beekeeping equipment and try some DIY alternatives. Some people may argue this choice and say that beekeeping is challenging enough without adding any additional hurdles; advances in modern beekeeping work and we should all use them. Well, I don’t fully agree, and we will just leave it at that. I say, experiment, learn, and have fun!

Finally, I ask for your continued support in helping grow the Beaufort County Beekeepers, and in protecting our valuable pollinators. Call us if you come across a swarm, rather than killing it. Reduce your use of pesticides as much as possible. Of course, I know sometimes we have to use something to get rid of weeds, fleas, and other annoying things. I hate using the chemicals, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. We also plan to be present at a few events selling items to generate money for the club. Last, but not least, let the clover grow in your yard for a bit. It looks beautiful and the bees and other pollinators love it…and you don’t have to mow as often.

Thank you for your support thus far. I appreciate your comments and feedback. My thanks, also, to the Washington Daily News for giving me the change to write this column. Take care, and have a nice day.

Please visit the Beaufort County Beekeepers website for to learn more about honeybees and beekeeping:

Tom Garcia is president of the Beaufort County Beekeepers Association.

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