Bee Spotting with the Bee Smart beekeeping project

While most of the attention goes to those honey producing, easily managed primary crop pollinators the honey bees, there is a growing awareness of the wide diversity of native bees in North America.  Those under appreciated eusocial and solitary bees that are fantastic and often crop specific pollinators such as bumblebees, mason bees, squash bees, headquarters and many, many more.

Now the Bee Smart beekeeping project is setting up a new adventure called “Bee Smart Bee Spotters”.  The goal I’d to teach people how to identify these incredible native bees, know more about their habitat and share the experience of seeing them work their fuzzy, winged magic.

The best part is that becoming a Bee Smart Bee Spotter is no cost to you.  All you need is some time, an adventurous spirit, a phone or other digital camera and a member account on the Bee Smart beekeeping project website forums page.

Then, you’re a bee spotter.  What Bee Spotters do is upload their own pictures of local bees and provide information about the photo of the Bee.  Where was it taken, what kind of Bee is it.  When was it seen, what season, etc…

Even if you don’t know what type of bee it is, you can post it in the “ID The Bee” sub-forum and we can help you figure out what kind of Bee you spotted.

Do you want to know more about how to identify native bees and their habitat?  There will be classes offered at MCC and Lauritzen Gardens to help you do that starting this Summer.

It’s like bird watching, but more exciting!  Bee Spotting is for any one, any age, whether you are a beekeeper or not.

Come on over and sign up on the Bee Smart beekeeping project website Forums page today and help us build the Bee Smart Bee Spotters community.

Summer Beekeeping Classes at MCC

I was recently informed that we actually did make the time cut to get the beekeeping classes in time to be in the Summer quarter print non-credit catalog for MCC.

I would like to thank MCC for putting the support and effort into making beekeeping and the new native bees classes available. I am working hard to make each class worth every minute of participants time and every dollar.

Having said that, if MCC is going to keep offering these types of classes, I need you help getting the word out so we can continue to build awareness and attendance to all the classes.

If there are any specific bee or beekeeping topics that folks would want to discovered, please let me know, if we can get a group to enroll, we can make that class happen.

Thanks to all you awesome bee folks for your continued support.

Bee Smart, Bee Active, Bee Happy

The Bee Smart beekeeping project is about conservation, education and training, and having fun.

Bee Smart is set up to rescue and relocate honey bees and bumblebees from locations where they are at risk of extermination or due to circumstances of location, pose a threat or risk.  The Bees are taken alive as much as possible and relocated eventually to the new teaching apiary that is being hosted at Scatter Joy Acres, which is an acreage that focuses on animal rescue and animal therapy.

Through the Bee Smart beekeeping project I have developed a series of beekeeping classes for people that want to learn about bees and beekeeping or expand their knowledge base if they are already involved in beekeeping.  There is also an upcoming series of Bee Smart classes focused on native bees found in North America and especially in our local area.  These classes are for a gone curious to know more about how to identify and provide habitat for native bees.

Most of these classes are offered through places like Metro Community College and hopefully soon at nature and garden attractions like Lauritzen Gardens.  They can be provided to private and non-profit organizations as well by appointment.

At the developing Bee Joyful Teaching Apiary at Scatter Joy Acres, apprentice beekeepers can get hands-on experience learning skills by doing them.  These folks are called my “Beehooligans” and are often active in apicultural adventures such as assisting with live bee rescues, capturing swarms, maintaining the hives, and harvesting from the hives.

One of the fun aspects is doing the bi-monthly podcast which is like a radio show on the internet.  These are recorded live at the ranch and any Beehooligans attending that particular day are welcome to sit in and chat about all things bees and beekeeping.

By being a “Beehooligan”, people can gain practical experience, work alongside others with the same interest, and build a network or support for themselves and each other.  On top of that, if a person wants to be involved in beekeeping but doesn’t have the space or other things necessary to keep bees on their own, this gives them the opportunity to still be a beekeeper at the teaching apiary.

Get involved with the Bee Smart beekeeping project.  Learn more, do more, enjoy it more.

Why My Bee Smart Classes Are Full of Awesome

I teach a number of beekeeping classes through Metro Community College here in Omaha, NE.  I try to get it so the basic classes start over every quater, that way, if you missed the opportunity to take one during one quarter, you can take it the next quarter.

I teach beekeeping classes to provide in depth information about various topics.  Each class is three hours of presentation of information, discussion and Q&A to gt the most out of each topic area.  Taking classes should be more than having a bunch of information shoved at you.  It should give you the opportunity to make the information relevant specifically to you and your needs.  That’s why I make sure to include plenty of opportunities for participants to ask questions that matter to what they have in mind.

I make sure that every participant gets a printed copy of the class booklet that I wrote to accompany each particular subject.  This way, participants don’t have to worry about taking copious notes of everything and can focus on discussion, Q&A, and making notes of specific info from the discussion and Q&A as it helps them be most effective.

I also make sure that each participant gets a crossword puzzle that created specifically from terms and ideas in the class it was made for.  This helps participants to reinforce the terminology and concepts that were discussed but hopefully in a way that is little more interesting and fun than by rote memorization.  Having even a little more fun helps to remember things than being bored to tears and forgetting most of it.

I want to help new and current beekeepers expand their capacity to be successful.  To  build their knowledge base and to understand just a little better these crazy insects we have fallen in love with.  The better informed we can be about our bees and our craft, the greater potential to be successful and enjoy doing it.  That’s what it’s all about.