VICTORY TWP. — About 30 people attended a beekeeping workshop hosted by the Scottville Beekeepers of Mason County on Saturday.

The annual Introduction to Beekeeping 101 class was held at Victory Bees, 4066 N. Peterson Road. Attendees gathered in a barn on the property to learn about the basics of beekeeping from local experts including Ed Malkowski, who is lovingly referred to as Mason County’s “Patron Saint of Bees.”

The introduction workshop is an annual event for the beekeeping club, but it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. On Saturday, the beekeepers were able to get back to it, with a mask requirement for those in attendance.

In addition to Malkowski, speakers included club founder Lenny Feldberg, Victory Bees co-owner Bill Mauer, and Aldon Maleckas.

Topics included bee biology, installation of materials for starting a hive at home, pollination and challenges faced by aspiring beekeepers.

Maleckas, during his presentation, talked about the prevalence of mites as a primary danger for bees.

“Mites seem to be the major problem with bees,” he said. “When the mite bites the bee, it transfers viruses… the major one seems to be a deformed wing virus.”

Maleckas guided participants through various treatments for mites, such as the use of products like Apiguard and Formic Pro Pads.

“I’m recommending testing for mites every month or so,” Malkowski said.

Other topics included safety materials and hive maintenance.

Feldberg told participants to be mindful and respectful of their neighbors if they’re considering starting a colony to produce honey.

The class was free and lasted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The club is open to aspiring and established beekeepers of all ages.

To learn more about the Scottville Beekeepers of Mason County, visit www.scottvillebeekeepers.org, or contact Feldberg at (773) 320-8828 or via email at ifneedbee@earthlink.net.

The group will host its first regular meeting of the season from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 15 at a to-be-determined location. Email suggestions about topics to Joan Riise at riisarch@hotmail.com.

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