Sunday, December 1, 2019

Staff Enhancement Grant Report: Introduction to Beekeeping Workshop

by Kathy Becker

(July 14, 2019)

After dreaming of beekeeping for several years, I was gifted a set of hive boxes for my birthday in February. I made arrangements with a local beekeeper buddy to receive a nuc, short for nucleus, which included a queen and about 3000 worker bees. Keen to give my future honeybees a great home, I applied for membership with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association and signed up for their Introduction to Beekeeping Workshop, which I attended on a sunny Saturday in June.

child keeping beesThe full-day workshop was led by two experienced beekeepers and included both in-class and hands-on experiences. I found it highly informative and just a little bit intimidating; I was going to be responsible for so many bees, which some have described as being one large buzzing pet! I was determined to give them a comfortable and secure beeyard. I added a bunch of pollinator-friendly plants to the area, including borage, sunflowers, goat willow, elderberries and sweet peas. I purchased some additional equipment, including gloves, a smoker, a hive tool, and a bee jacket with veil. And on June 29, I picked up my nuc. It was MUCH heavier than I thought it would be; my 3000 bees plus a few frames of honey weighed about 50 pounds. And the corrugated plastic nuc box was buzzing vigorously – an odd sensation, really.

I’m happy to report that my bees have been in place for a few weeks now and they seem comfortable in their new home! I’ve spent a lot of time watching them; it’s actually quite relaxing. I love seeing them come home with pollen for the hive - they look quite comical when they waddle in the front entrance with their big pollen pants on!

The availability of funding to support this kind of personal development initiative is such a great benefit to UW staff, and I thank the UWSA for approving my application. I would encourage other UW staff to consider how the Staff Enhancement Grant might be used to help foster their own growth in outside interests! If anyone is interested in talking about keeping bees, I’m open to having a chat sometime.


The next deadline to apply for a Staff Enhancement Grant is December 1, 2019. 

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