A group of worker bees

Illustration provided by Marty Elmer and used under Creative Commons license.

The Grand River Beekeepers’ Association is my local beekeeping association. I attended my first beekeepers meeting last night. It’s nice to be able to interact with real, local beekeepers finally.

The Grand River Beekeepers’ Association (GRBA) is the beekeeping association for Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area. Last night there were 29 people at the meeting (9 women and 20 men) ranging in age from about 25 to 75. There was also a wide variety of experience levels in the room. There were a handful of brand new beekeepers—like myself—and beekeepers with decades of experience.

The meeting started with some announcements and then we jumped right into a seminar on Early Spring Management. Some of the more important points were assessing the food stores available to overwintered bees, feeding techniques, and a brief discussion on the treatment of pests and diseases in the early spring.

During the break, we had a chance to interact with other beekeepers and I spoke to a number of beekeepers from the area who were both experienced and just starting out. After the break, the floor was opened up to discussion and questions. We spoke at length about Varroa Mites and how to defend against them. I believe everyone in the room was actively treating against mites, but there was also a discussion about organic and natural treatment options.

Attending this meeting was very beneficial and I plan on attending future meetings held every month. I can see this being a great resource for me as a beginner beekeeper as I’m able to ask questions to other people in the area and hear relavent stories from other beekeepers.

If you are interested in contacting the Grand River Beekeepers’ Association, please email Ken Coyle (grandriverbee@gmail.com).

Meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 7:30 pm (except for July, August, December and January) at the Christian Fellowship Church. 315 Northlake Dr, Waterloo. The membership fee is $10/year which helps to pay for guest speakers, meeting space, etc.

For other local beekeeping associations in Ontario, visit the Ontario Beekeepers Association’s list of local associations.