Stopping the swarm: Beekeepers look to protect honey crops

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Swarming hives are one of the beekeeping season’s earliest threats to a good honey crop, but at its monthly meeting tonight, the Franklin County Beekeeper’s Association will teach local beekeepers the best methods to avoid them.

Chris Wayne, the association’s president, will lead an open discussion during the meeting to talk about why swarms happen, how to avoid them and what to do when they occur. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the South County Senior Center on North Main Street.

“We try to educate all the local beekeepers on things they need to keep on top of as the year goes along,” said Wayne.

Wayne said swarming is part of the natural reproductive cycle of bees. During the process, half of a hive will leave and fly away to form a new colony. While swarming is good for the bee population, Wayne said it isn’t popular with beekeepers. A swarm means that the beekeeper loses half of his bees, which would otherwise be out gathering the resources they need to produce honey.

The meeting is open to both association members and the general public.

“We’re open to anyone who wants to learn more about beekeeping or become a beekeeper themselves.”