Beekeepers recruit families for bee raising

CORTLAND – Realizing the importance of bees in nature was one of the main points members of the Trumbull County Beekeepers Association wanted to get across to participants at a recent workshop geared to people of all ages.

The association’s beginning beekeeping class will take place for the next several months at both the Trumbull County Agricultural Center in Cortland and at local beekeepers’ properties. More than 40 participants, including several families, are taking part in the overview program set for Feb. 10, March 10, April 14 and May 19.

Rebecca Baxter, secretary of the association and area science teacher, said the series is to help educate people on the anatomy, communication, economics, honey and importance of keeping bees in a community.

“We want to encourage people to step up to become beekeepers and help to repopulate the bee population. We would like younger people to get more involved with this,” Baxter said.

She said the group hopes to educate the public of not mistaking bees for wasps, since many people kill bees not realizing it.

Lyle Waddell of Newton Falls, one of the participants, said he started getting involved with bees after the family members of someone who died gave him the person’s bee items.

“I figured I needed to attend a class to know how to do this, and how to take care of bees,” he said.

Clarence Smith of Andover, a beekeeper for three years, said he was concerned about the bees in Ashtabula County being killed off by spraying.

“I want to learn and do what I can to help,” Smith said.

Waddell said he is trying to learn as a beginner.

“We eat honey at my house, so I thought this would help me see how to best have the bees make honey,” he said.

Smith said he is concerned with the spraying being done in the environment and those misidentifying bees and killing them, thinking they are some other insect.

“People need to realize if they have bees, there are people out there who will take then,” Smith said.

Rick Becker of North Bloomfield, vice president of the association, said he hopes the classes help to heighten awareness there that the club is available as a resource for people who have questions about bees.

Becker said there are plans for live field days as part of the workshops. One is a trip to Becker’s home where he will show how to start personal bees hives.

Baxter said that 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables people eat depend on honeybees.

Club President Mike Shafer of Bristol said the club wants to educate the public so they can be successful with their bees. He has bee hives at his home he shares with the classes.

“We hope people take the information we give them and use it,” Shafer said.