Pollinators, Beekeeping & Product from the Hive with Jarrod Fowler & Ross Conrad
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 (All day) to Saturday, June 3, 2017 (All day)
Pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and many other insects, provide essential ecosystem services. Pollinators support the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world’s main crop species. The economic value of pollinator-dependent crops is estimated to be between $18 and $27 billion annually in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, necessary to produce seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of threatened pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity and healthy agricultural systems.
In this five-day course, farmers, hobbyists, and landowners with interests in pollinator conservation and beekeeping will learn the context and skills to support beneficial insects and native pollinators, as well as to cultivate happy, healthy, productive honeybees. The course will also cover how to partner with your bees, add value to their products and create additional bee-related revenue streams. The first two days of this workshop are led by the Xerces Society’s Jarrod Fowler, who will teach best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects, assessment and design of habitat, and tools to increase and enhance their diversity. During days three and four, class sessions will be led by Ross Conrad, who will focus primarily on the benefits and mechanics of small scale and backyard beekeeping. We will cover fundamental topics and practices for natural and organic beekeeping including: location and equipment requirements; basic honey bee biology; swarming as an expression of the bees vitality; presence and mindfulness in the bee yard; and non-toxic pest and disease control. On our final day together, we will learn about an array of value added products from the hive, including pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly, honey bee larvae and beeswax products. We will also try our hands at beeswax rendering and candle making. This is a hands-on exploration of pollinators and bees, punctuated with pollinator identification walks, an open hive demonstration and, weather permitting, ample opportunity for students to work with bees.