With spring, local bees are in swarming mode looking for their new homes. The Northeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association also is ready for a spring tradition — the May Field Day.
According to James Ringswald, 10-year member of the NEIBA, this is the time of year to keep an eye out for swarming bees. “If you see a swarm, they’re just focused on finding a new home,” Ringswald said. The bees are most docile when they’re swarming, so it’s important not to kill them, but rather to call his organization first, Ringswald said.
NEIBA swarm list coordinator Rick Stevens can arrange for beekeepers to come out and collect bees before they make their homes where they are not wanted. Eventually, the bees are given to beekeepers who make a safe home for them.
Ringswald said if someone spots a swarm of bees, the spotter can contact Stevens at 260-610-1040.
Ringswald himself started with two hives and is now up to 20 hives.
Interest in beekeeping is starting to grow, he said. It’s a hobby that can take as many hours as you’d like it to.
“Last year was a lot of interest. We still have the mentor programs; they have a wealth of knowledge,” Ringswald said.
The mission of the organization is to help people learn and navigate the adventures of beekeeping. The NEIBA has about 300-350 members and is still growing.
James Wheeler and family of Wheeler’s Bees will host May Field Day at Buskirk Engineering, 7224 E 900 N, just east of Ossian, from 8:40 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 30. It’s free for members to attend. A NEIBA membership costs $15 annually and provides members with the opportunity to borrow equipment, learn from mentors and more. New members can sign up at any time, including at Field Day.
State bee inspector Kathleen Prough will visit May Field Day, and speak on what she is observing across the state. A view of a hive as it’s taken apart step-by-step and more are among other activities available at the May Field Day.
“The annual NEIBA Field Day is designed as a family learning adventure to appeal to all levels of beekeepers, from beginners to advanced, for grandparents, parents and their children,” the organization said in an email.
The Classic Cafe will prepare lunches for just $10 each. Reservations are highly recommended, and should be made by May 10 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 260-565-3773.
Or, guests may bring their own lunch.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair, a pen and a notebook for the educational program. Protective gear is recommended for live hive demonstrations.
Wheeler’s Bee Store will be open all day with beekeeping equipment and supplies and protective gear.
Anyone interested in bees or beekeeping is encouraged to sign up for the group’s newsletter.
More information about NEIBA and the May Field Day is available at neiba.info.com or on Facebook at NortheasternIndianaBeekeepersAssociation.