The part of the year when bees collect pollen and nectar in excess has passed, and the bees are feeding themselves and their growing colonies with what they collect now; living ‘paycheck to paycheck’ — “just like us,” said Richmond County Beekeepers’ Association President David Auman.
Beekeepers and their bees spend all year getting ready for spring, and just like the bees, who will focus on maintaining themselves until next spring, Auman is building up his hives for sale in the spring. Auman has 25 honeybee hives.
Now that spring has passed, the Beekeepers’ Association has an agenda that is poised to help beginning beekeepers, and to raise funds for the coming year. The group’s next meeting will be on July 26, and although there won’t be a guest speaker, there will be plenty of opportunity to talk to other experienced beekeepers during Questions and Answers.
Looking ahead, August 27 will be the next Field Day, when several beekeepers will have their hives inspected by the state inspector, while other beekeepers look on and learn. One topic of discussion will be plant-based mite treatment versus what Auman calls “harsh chemicals.”
In September, cooks and honey lovers may want to take part in the annual Cooking With Honey Contest, hosted by the beekeepers. Several categories include snacks, meats and drinks.
“We have barbecue sauce with honey in it,” said Auman. “We have some talented folks that take part in it, especially the ladies.”
A few quiet months will lead up to a fund-raising culmination in December, when the beekeepers host their annual Christmas Party and Auction.
“People can bring anything; the items are not bee related. It could be anything,” said Auman.
He is proud that each year, the 25-member club is able to raise about $1,000. He said at least half of the members are experienced beekeepers.
“It’s good to have new people come along and you get to hear their questions,” said Auman.
He is impressed by new beekeepers’ enthusiasm and excitement.
“It’s like Christmas; they can’t wait to get their bees in the spring,” said Auman. “Nothing offers excitement quite like that.”
Auman doesn’t quite understand what is so magnetic about watching bees work, but knows there is something to it. He recalled a friend of a friend, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Auman’s friend said all the man wanted to do was watch honeybees. They gave the man a hive and everyday he sat by the hive in a chair and watched the bees keep themselves busy.
“It’s just such a fascinating insect,” said Auman. “It stays with you and doesn’t wear off. That’s rare.”
Auman said some of his customers become eager and call him often to see when the hive will be ready. He said he enjoys their eagerness.
“It’s kind of fun to talk about,” admitted Auman.
The association will have a booth at the county fair and a float in the Farm City Week in Ellerbe in the fall.
— Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at email@example.com.