Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 01-08-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JANUARY 8-14, 2020 THE VALLEY 11 To bee or not to bee? Bee School teaches beginners the basics of beekeeping Wannabe beekeepers or those sim- ply interested in learning all the buzz about pollinators are encouraged to sign up for a course this winter with the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association. "We teach all about the honeybee," Betty Mencucci, instructor and direc- tor of RIBA's Bee School, told The Valley Breeze. "There's a lot of interest," she added about the five- week courses starting at the end of the month at Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. Students will learn about the life cycle of honeybees, as well as how to get started, choos- ing an apiary site, buying bees and equipment, the assembly of the hive, installing package bees, catching swarms, nectar sources, bee diseases and pests, hive inspections and wintering. There will also be demonstrations of beekeeping equipment. The course is designed for beginners who have very limited or no knowledge about honeybees, Mencucci said. Once someone completes the course they can start keeping bees on their own. If anyone has any interest, she said, taking the course is important because beekeep- ing can be difficult and confusing. Mencucci, who began teaching in the early 1990s, said she's seen inter- est in the courses gradually increase and shift from being more of an "old man's hobby" to an activity shared by a diverse demographic of people. The recent discourse about the plight of honeybees has especially helped to raise awareness about bees and their value to agriculture and society in general, she said. As the number of deaths of bee colonies continues to grow, increased use of pesticides and viruses carried by mites are two major reasons for the crisis over the past decade. In the course, "we do quite a bit on diseases," Mencucci said. "It's harder to keep bees now than it ever has been" thanks to the introduction of mites and associated viruses. "There's a lot to learn there. That's where people have the most failures." "A lot of people are more inter- ested in nature and heard about the plight of the bee and want to help," she added as one of the reasons peo- ple take the course. Other people sign up because they're interested in learning some- thing new, making their own honey, or hope to get better pollination for their orchards and gardens if they have their own bees, she said. Starting at the end of January and beginning of February, the four courses will be offered at RIC and URI. Each course is five weeks long. Course dates and times are as fol- lows: • Thursdays, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, and 27, with a snow day on March 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at URI in Kingston. • Fridays, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, 14, 21, and 28, with a snow day of March 6, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at RIC in Providence. • Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, with a snow day of March 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at RIC. • Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, with a snow day of March 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at URI. Those enrolled in the course also receive membership to RIBA, which is an additional source of help and advice. RIBA hosts special meetings an hour before its regu- lar monthly meetings that offer an informal opportunity for begin- ners to ask questions. Becoming a beekeeper is not without a cost, Mencucci said, noting that someone can eas- ily spend $500 between purchasing the bees and equipment. When first obtaining bees, people can purchase one or two 3-pound packages that can build up to 50,000 bees in the course of a summer, she said. As for the responsibilities, people need to go out once a week and inspect the hive. Checking every day will upset the bees but "you can't just get a hive and think you won't look at it," she said. The busiest seasons, with more tasks to complete, are the spring and fall. In the winter the bees stay inside as long as the temperature is under 50 degrees and come back out when it's warm in the spring, according to Mencucci. Her favorite part about beekeeping is observing the activity in the hive, she said. "There's always something a little bit new (that you) didn't see before." Advance registration is required. The cost of the course is $75 per per- son, which includes all course mate- rials, a textbook and membership dues in the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association through Dec. 31. Register by Friday, Jan. 24, to avoid a $10 late fee. The URI courses are smaller and fill up more quickly. Mencucci said she encourages fam- ilies to take the class as a fun activity to do together. As space becomes available, additional family members at the same address may attend and share course materials for $10 each. To register, visit http://ribeekeeper. org/bee-school . Print the registration form, fill it out and send with check or money order to: Bee School, RI Beekeepers Association, PO Box 685, Glendale, RI 02826. With questions, contact Mencucci at bmencucci@verizon.net or 401- 568-8449. By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com BETTY MENCUCCI, director of the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association's Bee School, pictured above inspecting a hive, will be teaching courses for beginner bee- keepers starting later this month. Below, she holds up a honeycomb. ACROSS 1. Beer ingredient 5. Popular FOX TV show 11. Recurring from time to time 14. Criticized se- verely 15. Musician 18. German urban center 19. Quenched 21. Human gene 23. Indian music 24. Accumulate 28. One who grad- uated 29. Atomic #109 30. Semitic fertility god 32. Sportscaster Patrick 33. Child's dining accessory 35. Payment (abbr.) 36. Guitarist's tool 39. Dabbling ducks 41. Commercial 42. Style someone's hair 44. Biu-Mandara language 46. Actress Spelling 47. Large hole in the ground 49. One-masted sailboats 52. Tropical Asian plant 56. Concurs 58. Latin term for charity 60. The number below the line in a fraction 62. Reddish browns 63. This (Spanish) DOWN 1. Belong to he 2. One time only 3. Parent-teacher groups 4. Puts in place 5. Editing 6. In the course of 7. Helps injured people (abbr.) 8. OJ trial judge 9. Resist authority (slang) 10. Formerly alke- nols 12. "Cheers" actress Perlman 13. Jewelled head- dress 16. Viking Age poet 17. Vanuatu island 20. Wish harm upon 22. Unit of length 25. Blood type 26. Drain 27. Do-gooders 29. Advanced degree 31. Business desig- nation 34. Chinese-Ameri- can actress Ling 36. Performs on stage 37. Slang for money 38. Large Russian pie 40. The Mount Rush- more State 43. Narrow inlet 45. News organiza- tion (abbr.) 48. Scarlett's home 50. Micturates 51. Monetary unit 53. Any customary observance or practice 54. Sons of Poseidon 55. Facilitates gro- cery shopping 57. Standard operat- ing procedure 58. Former OSS 59. Midway between south and south- east 61. The Wolverine State Answers to this week's crossword puzzle can be found on page 15.

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