Beekeepers Teach School, Exhibits at Topsfield Fair |
You don’t have to be a beekeeper to join, and the Essex County Beekeepers’ Association welcomes those who want to learn about honey and beeswax. However, it is its “Bee School” and exhibits at the annual Topsfield Fair for which it is best known.
The nine-week course for beginning beekeepers provides “an introductory level course designed to provide students, with no previous knowledge or experience with beekeeping, the necessary information and skills to keep honeybees and produce honey and beeswax.”
Bee biology, setting up beehives, harvesting honey and managing bees through all seasons are among the subjects.
ECBA says the school is also a way to learn enough about beekeeping to decide if it is right for you, and advises students not to purchase any equipment until taking the course.
Members also have access to lectures on beekeeping, honey, candle making and access to expert beekeepers.
The Beekeeping & Honey Show at the Topsfield Fair is the largest at any fair in North America. The first honey exhibits were first introduced in 1844, and ECBA has operated the show since 1928.
In 1998 the International Association of Fairs and Expositions awarded it "First Place" for the excellence of its presentation.
ECBA also offers help if a swarm of honey bees appears on your property. While swarming is part of the natural reproductive life cycle of honey bees, the swarming season in Massachusetts usually begins in June and can last through August. ECBA offers a list of local beekeepers who can assist.