Area beekeepers are taking the sting out of working alone by uniting to form a local beekeeping association that will help provide support and offer resources.
“We’ve had two formal meetings,” Mike Conroy, owner of Hunny Hills Farms north of Sedalia, said. “It not somebody that jumped up and said ‘I’m going to make a club.’ A group of us are developing the rules and bylaws.”
According to a press release, provided by the beekeepers, a steering committee has been formed and they are “laying the framework” for the association. Beekeepers decided to organize because there are no beekeeping organizations nearby for them to reach out to for resources.
“The nearest one is probably Clinton, Columbia or Versailles,” Conroy said.
He added that there are quite a few beekeepers in the area.
“We had probably a dozen at our last meeting,” he noted.
The group is hoping to provide three basic outlets of knowledge and sharing.
“One of the interests is, local support for other beekeepers,” he said. “That can include sharing of resources. Bruce (Bird) I know is interested in getting into queen rearing. So, that’s available.
“We also want to provide a resource for the community in obtaining hive products; honey, bee’s wax, (and) pollen,” he added. “Then an additional local resource for government agencies — they do call about bee removal and swarm removal. That would also fall under the community resources.”
Conroy said his interest in forming the association would be to learn more about honey and bee’s wax production. He is presently experimenting with raising bees in top-bar hives verses langstroth or box hives.
“I would like to get into swarm collecting and possible bee removal,” he added. “But, that’s down the road.”
Another aspect may be soon added to the fledgling group. Earlier this week Conroy said he received and email from at the Missouri State Beekeepers Association with information from University of Missouri-Columbia Research Entomologist Dr. Moneen Jones.
“The University of Missouri is interested in some additional programs to support beekeepers and beekeeping,” he said. “What they’ve done is they have applied for a grant and they are looking for beekeepers to volunteer. Our hives may be the source of research.”
Area beekeepers will have their third meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 4 on the campus of State Fair Community College in the Potter-Ewing Agriculture Building. According to the press release, the agenda for the meeting will include discussion to draft a constitution, bylaws, a mission statement, choosing an association name, and preferred meeting day and time. Refreshments will be served. Those interested are invited to attend. For more information call Mike Conroy at 573-301-1394 or email him at [email protected]
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.