Swarms of beekeepers to descend on Vermont
In two weeks, over 500 beekeepers, honeybee researchers and experts from 26 states and provinces in the eastern U.S. and Canada will arrive in Vermont for a five day gathering, expected to be the largest gathering of beekeepers since 1980. The Vermont Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Apicultural Society are partnering on the event, entitled Bees and Beyond with a focus on how honeybees and their relationship to the many facets of agriculture, to be held August 13-17, 2012 at the University of Vermont.
Beekeeping has become increasingly popular in recent years in Vermont and across the country partly because people are interested in producing their own food but also because people are interested in supporting bee and other pollinator populations that are under threat. There are roughly 2000 beekeepers in Vermont and about 100,000 nationwide.
EAS is the largest noncommercial beekeeping organization in the United States and one of the largest in the world.
The event includes workshops, lectures, vendor displays and short courses for beginning and advanced beekeepers. A detailed agenda can be found at www.vermontbeekeepers.org. Monday and Tuesday will offer hands-on short courses, Wednesday vendors arrive and the main conference starts with lectures, workshops, and field trips that continue and culminate with a popular banquet on Friday night. The annual conference rotates around the member states.
Rowan Jacobsen, author of the bestselling Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday morning. Throughout the week, leading researchers from around the world will present on topics such as: apitherapy, queen rearing, pesticides, native pollinators, issues with organic honey, urban beekeeping issues and more. An expanded, juried honey show will be held on Thursday.
In addition to speakers, the beekeepers will have 20 hives set up on the UVM green in front of the Fleming Museum. Hands-on in-hive courses will be offered. A barbecue social will be held at Shelburne Farms on Wednesday, and live and silent auctions will offer beekeeping equipment and memorabilia.
“We are expecting a full house at UVM for this event,” said Vermonter Bill Mares, primary organizer and president of the Eastern Apicultural Society.
Hosting the event is the 500-member Vermont Beekeepers Association. Founded in 1886, it is one of the oldest beekeeping clubs in the country. “Bringing the EAS conference back to Vermont was a huge project for us – but with lots of help from our members I knew we could pull it off,” Mares said. “It’s a real advantage to our Vermont beekeepers to have this offered in our back yard. We like to say that one day of learning at EAS is worth a year of beekeeping experience.” The VBA was able to secure a grant from the USDA in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to help offset the cost for Vermont beekeepers to attend the conference.
The conference is open to all regardless of experience