The wife and I went are now proud members of the Summit County Bee Keepers Association. Mind you we don’t actually keep bees, nor do we know what we’re doing but we have a card to prove we at least ponied up the ten bucks to be legit. We assembled in a room with actually quite a few other people, I bet upwards of 75 other bee keepers were there from all over the area.
The two hour meeting started with a great presentation by regional bee keeping expert Denzil St. Clair from Queen Right Colonies in Lorain County Ohio. Mr. St. Clair gave an overview of just some of the bee keeping products out there; some good, some bad, some just plain silly or useless. His over 40 years of experience rang through as he answered questions and provided guidance to amateur and veteran apiarists alike. The key we learned is to, as with anything in life, start simple, learn the ropes then experiment once you gain an understanding. Being new to this we obviously didn’t know about half the stuff he was talking about, but I nodded my head and looked engaged. As a designer it was interesting because he talked a lot about design flaws in bee keeping equipment. Apparently the bee product industry could benefit from some better industrial design. Of course bees pretty much can live with or without all this fancy stuff but that’s beside the point. But as I’ve admitted, I didn’t know the half of what he was saying. For example at some point one may have to “sugar roll” one’s bees. You basically count out 300 bees and put them in a tube. “Why?” I thought to myself. “Does this make them taste better?” “Are we supposed to be eating our bees?” “If we eat all the bees then what are all the wooden boxes for?”. Luckily for society’s sake I did not raise my hand, rather I was comfortable basking in the innocent mysteries of bee keeping just a breath or two longer.
After the presentation they held the meeting part. It’s a very well run organization with a lot of members who are actively involved. The also had free food so what’s not to like. They passed around some clip boards so people could volunteer for things….a mentor list, the “swarm” list, and so forth.
Earlier I bought $5 worth of raffle tickets so we had some skin in the game when a young man pulled numbers out of a plastic canister. I had glanced at the prizes when I purchased the tickets. Looked like a variety of bee keeping goodies. There was a book and nice Portage County Bee Keepers shirt too. But most of it I had no idea what the items were for. They rattled off at least a dozen or two prizes worth of numbers in all. Naturally though people are going to take the best stuff first: a gift certificate, shirt, some metal poking stick, two drafting brush looking things, on and on….”51472” (or some number) they’d call out and someone would go claim their prize of choice. We were a little disheartened but no big deal not having won anything yet. Honestly though by time the association president called out “Okay, four prizes left” and the guy who won the fourth to last prize selected a one pound bag of grey dirt (or dust….or lint), the purpose of which I couldn’t fathom…I pretty much figured neither the wife nor I wanted to see what the last three prizes were. After all if a grey bag of dirt is the fourth worst prize, the last three most likely involved something gross or clown related.
With the end of that the meeting was adjourned and we got up to leave. Being that it was rude to talk during the meeting we cross referenced our notes on the way out. Our conversation may or may not have gone like this:
Me: I signed you up for the “swarm” list?
Wife: What? Wait. Why did you do that?
Me: It’s good for you to volunteer. I don’t even know what it is but sounded cool.
Wife: Um it means you go gather hives at people’s houses and transport them.
Me: Wow, that sounds crazy. Glad I don’t have to do that. So like they call you at 4 in the morning and you have to go get bees nest?
Wife: Um hello I’m not getting up and getting bees nests in the morning or at any time.
Me: What the hell are you supposed to do with them once you get ’em?
Wife: You put them in your empty bee hive.
Me: So I’m just supposed to have empty hives laying around?
Wife: yeah, then you get free bees.
Me: Well sounds like you know what’s goin’ on so good thing I signed you up.
Next up we need to get the inside line from our personal bee keeping friend and we need to order our bees. They’ll sell out within the next three weeks so we got to get rolling. Definitely a new adventure for us. Stay tuned.