Beekeepers hold field day in Vienna

VIENNA — Bill and Heidi Holk had just started beekeeping at their home a month ago when they were shocked to find a bear had destroyed both hives in their yard.

The Southington couple went to the Trumbull County Beekeepers Association field day open house Sunday in Vienna to get some help. The Holks were given suggestions on how to protect their hives from bears, skunks and other animals.

“We joined last month and are here to get more information. We are interested in beekeeping and have so much to learn about bees … We also want to let people know of the bear sightings in the county. Bears like honey,” said Heidi Holk, who noted they plan to set their hives closer to the house next year.

Bill Holk said they had the hives on several blocks, but the bear still got to them.

Victor Cummins, president of the association, said the field day was designed to get the public involved and discuss what is involved with beekeeping. He said club members set up displays and demonstrations.

Learning sessions included an introduction to beekeeping, harvesting honey, wax rendering and candle making. Vendors sold fresh honey and beekeeping supplies.

Ed Freel, club member, said most field days are open to club members only, but they decided to open this one to the public so people could see and learn about bees, hives, honey and wax.

“There are people here who have hives, and others who just want to see what this all about. It is a very diversified interest level,” Freel said.

Freel said bears go for the bee larvae and baby bees, which are high-protein. Bears and skunks are natural enemies of bees and destroy hives. The hives have to be kept high off the ground, he said.

“Beekeeping can be a fun hobby. We like to get together like this and share information and also show visitors what beekeeping is all about,” he said.

Cortland resident John Moss said he has five hives and brought honey bees in an observation hive with him.

“This is a way to show bees in a safe manner and let people know what honeybees are all about. Many people want to know how they make honey,” he said, noting people ask him how long the queen bee lives and how many eggs she lays.

Moss said some people want to have a hands-on experience with bees to see what it is like before they become an active beekeeper.

Isabel Moss, 9, of Cortland, said she likes to taste the honey when she can. Her 14-year-old sister Ella said she did a 4-H project on bees for the first time last year.

“I entered my beekeeping project in the fair and was able to go to the Ohio State Fair,” Ella Moss said.