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2009 North Carolina Summer Meeting

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The Beekeepers of Wilkes County will be hosting the NC State Beekeepers Association 2009 Summer Meeting. It will be held at the John A. Walker Community Center from July 9 through July 11, 2009. The meeting begins at 1:00 pm on Thursday and ends at 12:00 pm on Saturday. For the official agenda for the meeting or to register please visit ncbeekeepers.org.

There will be many important topics discussed, including one of the largest threats to the honey bee, the varroa mite. Varroa mites infest the hive and attach themselves to the honey bees weakening them by sucking hemolymph from them also passing viruses such as deformed wing virus. The mites can be treated by using different chemical treatments and also non-chemical treatments will which will be discussed at the meeting.

Many experts from North Carolina will be holding workshops at the meeting. These workshops will be very informative and interactive. Some of the topics are Using your Own Wax for Foundation, Reducing Honey Bee Stress, Natural Queen Rearing, and Beeswax Candles and Other Wax Works. There will also be a tour of Perry Lowe’s Apple Orchard, Lithia Springs Vineyard, and one of the largest beekeeping equipment suppliers located right here in Wilkes County, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.

Every beekeeper likes to show off their honey and they want everyone to taste it as well. For those beekeepers there is a honey competition including not only just the honey but beeswax, mead and photography. There is also a cooking with honey competition to show off your culinary skills using honey as the sweetener. Speaking of food, there is an awards banquet on Friday evening that is sponsored by and will be located at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. There will be a chicken and beef BBQ, bluegrass entertainment and the awards presentations.

Each person that attends the meeting will be given a goodie bag when they visit the registration table. Local businesses that donated items for the goodie bags were: beekeeping.cc, Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, Elite Insurance, Miller Bee Supply, Wilkes Telecommunications, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, Parkdale Mills, Sonic, and Blue Ridge Parkway Association. Attendees will also be entered into door prize drawings. There are some great door prizes that were donated by: Busy Bee Apiaries, Miller Bee Supply, Shurtape, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, Dadant, Mann Lake, Key City Grille, YMCA, and the John A. Walker Community Center. A silent auction will take place in the ballroom of the Walker Center. Many items have been donated including a complete hive and a small extractor. If you’re looking for new equipment or just want to check out some different styles of equipment there will be many beekeeping vendors on site for you to browse and ask questions of.

There is also a Master Beekeeping program that is sponsored by NC State University, NC State Beekeepers Association, and the NC Dept. of Agriculture. North Carolina’s program is the oldest, continuously active, Master Beekeeper program in the U.S. There are four levels in the program, Certified Beekeeper, Journeyman Beekeeper, Master Beekeeper, and Master Craftsman Beekeeper. In order to achieve one of these statuses you must pass a written test, practical test, have a certain number of years experience, and acquire a certain number of public service credits. Each level has different requirements. Testing will be going on Thursday and Friday at the Summer Meeting. Wilkes County has our very own Master Craftsman Beekeeper, Howard Blackburn. He has been a Master Craftsman for many years now and is always helpful and full of invaluable information from years of experience with beekeeping.

With so much happening at this years NC Summer Meeting you would really benefit from attending. There will be information, discussions, and networking available for all levels of beekeepers. Comradery is an important part of beekeeping as well, since there is no right or wrong way to keep bees everyone can benefit from discussing and sharing experiences with one another.

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