Would you like to get started in beekeeping?

The Missouri State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) has been focused on helping bees and beekeepers since 1888. 

If you take a moment to ponder it, quite a lot has changed since 1888. But as they say, some things never change. 

The bees still adore Missouri’s flowers on sunny days, and Missouri’s beekeepers are still fascinated with our beloved state insect. 

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in beekeeping. Lots of new beekeepers looking to get more in touch with nature, or perhaps embark on an exciting new journey, are taking up the hobby.

Shown are swarm collectors Nancy and Domenic Giofre, members of Missouri State Beekeepers Association and Boone Regional Beekeepers Club. They produce honey ice cream for the MSBA booth at the state fair. They can be found on the swarm list for MSBA by typing in their zip code 65251.

Instead of riding your horse to bee meetings in the late 1800’s, or learning the craft from your neighbor on his farm, modern beekeepers usually start their education via the internet. 

To compliment their modern internet education, most find it beneficial to hang out with experienced beekeepers and ask lots of questions. 

This can easily be accomplished on a local level, as well as the 

state level. If you’re looking for a club in your area, check out MSBA’s website (mostatebeekeepers.org). 

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At the conferences you can learn about the latest bee research, and effective management techniques. Socializing and networking with the best beekeepers in the state is both fun and rewarding. 

This year’s conference was in scenic Cape Girardeau on March 15-16th. MSBA is also going to trial run a field day this year. The field day will offer something the internet cannot — a genuine firsthand look at bee colonies, guided by experts in the field. 

You will hear the bees buzzing, see them working hard bringing in nectar and pollen, and smell the unique scent of a bee colony. The field day will also offer breakout sessions with education ranging from basic hive inspections for beginners, to queen rearing and dividing colonies for those needing more advanced information. 

The field day will offer a laid back outdoor function with a fun picnic atmosphere. This will be a nice compliment to the classroom environment of the spring and fall conferences. 

Are you are curious what you can do to help the bees and butterflies in Missouri? Plant diverse native flowering trees and plants wherever you can. The bees will appreciate the nutrition, and the flowers will brighten your day with color. 

An even easier route would be to become a member of MSBA. Annual membership dues are a mere $10. MSBA members receive a first class bi-monthly newsletter. 

Members also help financially support industry leading researchers, as well as national and state honeybee and pollinator organizations. 

For an educational experience, visit Missouri State Beekeepers Association at mostatebeekeepers.org and join the group to talk bees. 

(Cory Stevens is president of the Missouri State Beekeepers Association.)

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