Many hobbies that revolve around the outdoors often bring benefit to the environment and even with its truly unique qualities, beekeeping surely falls into that category.
Honeybees fall prey to a full slate of issues, from tiny mites that infest hives to chemical exposure and loss of natural habitats, and having more people actively raising bees helps on all those fronts.
“It has multiple benefits. It’s enriching yourself with knowledge, it gets you outside,” said Anna Wysocki, president of the Wye River Beekeeper. “The need for bees is great for pollinators. We need to build the population.”
But beekeeping is more than setting a hive out on your property, Wysocki added.
It takes management, knowledge and certain specific skills.
In 2021, the Wye River group is collaborating with the Upper Shore Beekeepers and the University of Maryland Bee Squad to offer a Beekeeping 101 course starting in January.
“We’re trying to build the awareness of the importance of bees,” Wysocki said. “The bees have so many problems so the need for a beekeeper to monitor them is great.”
Mark Dykes, of the UMD Bee Squad, will be teaching the course.
Dykes is the former chief inspector of the Texas Apiary Inspection Service and has led many beekeeping education programs, including the Texas Master Beekeeper Program, and currently teaches classes for beekeepers through the University of Maryland.
Open to anyone interested in becoming a beekeeper, the course is divided into six sessions, each covering a different aspect of the craft.
All sessions will be taught online every other Saturday starting on Jan. 16, 2021.
The cost for the six sessions is $125. To register for the class contact Wye River Beekeepers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-279-9896 by Jan. 10.
As an introductory course, “it’s enough to get you started” Wysocki said, and from her perspective, beekeeping opens up a whole new world.
“Beekeeping is magical,” she said. “When you open the hive, the fragrance that comes out of it, it transforms you. It’s looking at a perfect society.”
The class itself also strikes a personal cord for Wysocki and other is the Maryland beekeeping community.
It’s the continuation of a class led for years by Mike Embrey, a well-known University of Maryland entomologist and beekeeping expert who died in 2019 following a car accident.
Wysocki, who happened to move in next door to Embrey when her family came to the Eastern Shore, took his 101 class when she was starting her apiary.
“He was a dear personal friend of mine. We decided we need to continue that tradition,” she said.