Backyard Beekeeping with Claire Opperman from the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club.
Recently Buy Extension (BE) had the opportunity to meet with Claire Opperman, a backyard beekeeper and member of the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club (TVBC). Claire took to two backyard beehives that she cares for in Boise, and walked us how she interacts with her bees.
(Assessing hive health)
During the day Claire introduced us to the basics of beekeeping; everything from the proper personal protective equipment to wear (the beekeeper suite, shroud and gloves), how to approach a hive, and how to utilize a smoker effectively, but all the while being aware of how the smoke affects the bees. Claire also taught us about the inner workings and hierarchy within the hive: Queen, Workers, Drones, and Brood. Claire, like other hobby and professional beekeepers learn their skills and beekeeping style through experience (and trial and error), but also through research, workshops, trainings, and joining clubs like the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club.
The TVBC has over 200 members and holds monthly meetings. Members experience level range from people interested in learning more about beekeeping to highly skilled professionals. Member of TVBC are able to learn all there is to know about the honeybee (and keeping the honeybee) through workshops, trainings, and demonstrations.
(Top bar up close)
One of the services that TVBC offers is a swarm collection map. On their website (http://www.idabees.org/) there is a list of club member living in your area who are interested in collecting a swarm hive. One hives during our fieldtrip with Claire was actually a swarm that had gathered in a tree right outside of the Leaf Teahouse on 9th street, downtown. Claire was able to move the swarm to a friend’s backyard hive. Since that time, early June, and with a little maintenance, they have will be able to harvest nearly 50 pounds of honey next summer.
Bees offer incredible benefits to the areas they inhabit, especially for the natural environment, and for anyone in the agriculture profession, gardening enthusiasts, and artisan working with honey, wax, propolis, or pollen. The art of beekeeping is becoming more common and popular, and is an awesome way to give bees a home to live in.
Special thanks to Claire for her time and teaching us her beekeeping world, and to Ryan Ricks for his photographs!