-posted by Jayne
This past weekend, Isaac and I attended the 37th annual Tri-County Beekeeping Conference. Which means that 3 years before I was even born, beekeepers were convening near Wooster, Ohio to discuss every little nerdy aspect of the honeybee. Today, the conference is huge- with over 1,000 beekeepers in attendance, along with every beekeeping resource and business imaginable this side of the Mississippi (and many from the West as well). I like to think about all the beekeeping nerds uniting under one roof, much the same way as gamers, athletes, or comic book enthusiasts unite at conventions. Beekeepers are a unique lot, and most are pretty proud of their chosen hobby/profession.
We were especially honored this year, because we were asked to speak on two separate topics. During lunch, Isaac talked about "You are Not Alone: Mistakes we all Make." At first I was not sure if we should feel offended that we were asked to speak on this topic (What? Mistakes? We don't make mistakes!)... or honored. But anyone who reads this blog knows that we are pretty open and honest about the blunders and mishaps that have happened throughout our beekeeping journey. These make entertaining stories for a beekeeping conference. Later in the day, Isaac also talked about our journey from hobby beekeepers to full-time beekeepers, and how one might go about doing such a thing.
I was proud to see my honey up there talking about... honey. Front and center you can also see the new beekeeping license plate, available mid-March. The plate reads "Save the Honey Bee" at the bottom, and funds raised from the sale of this license plate will go towards education and beekeeping research.
Several OSU student researchers had displays explaining pollen sources throughout the season. It was fascinating to see the samples side by side, week by week. We also had the opportunity to look at pollens up close under a microscope.
A hands-on room- with bees under microscopes.
And a beautiful monarch butterfly- which looks beautifully hairy under the scope. Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Flight Behavior? It's an entertaining novel- I highly recommend it.
When attending a beekeeping conference you have many opportunities to purchase signs that proudly display your dorkiness- and love of bees, of course.
There is a honey baking contest, and at the end of the day, the attendees can sample all the leftovers that that judges couldn't finish. I got there a little late. We beekeepers are a ravenous sort.
You can buy lots of fancy beekeeping equipment. Seen here is a fancy nuc hive. Check out that roof!
Or, you can go all out and purchase one with a cupola-like steeple on top. For those religious bees that want to feel more reverent at home.
I probably should have taken more pictures, so all you non-beekeepers know what you are missing out on. But this gives you an idea of what beekeeping nerds do on weekends. For fun.
That is... when we're not hanging out with a bunch of stinging insects.