As a child, Denison Farm Market Master and Stonewall Apiary owner Stuart Woronecki use to watch his elderly neighbor work in the orchard and beehives next door.
“I was fascinated by the honeybees,” Woronecki recalled.
He turned that fascination into a career beginning with a few honeybee colonies in his yard making honey for himself and his family. Nine years ago after increasing the yard to ten colonies he began selling his products at the Denison Farm Market. Now, he has a beekeeping business of nearly 200 honeybee colonies in Hanover, Conn.
“This year we harvested several thousands pounds of honey and hundreds of ponds of beeswax,” Woronecki said. “It has been hard work building it up, but the rewards and the enjoyment are worth it.”
Woronecki hopes to pass on his fascination to others. For the second year Woronecki is teaching a Beginner Beekeeping course at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.
“I developed the class because many of my honey customers expressed interest in keeping bees on their own.”
Last year’s class was so popular in fact it sold out quickly that Woronecki is also teaching another class in Coventry.
The DPNC began offering beekeeping workshops several years ago through various partnerships with local beekeepers.
“We have seen interest in participating in beekeeping rise,” Chelle Farrand Director of Marketing & Communications for the DPNC said. “Many people have become concerned about the plight of the bees or are interested in home farming and sustainability.”
The DPNC sells Stonewall Apiary products in its store and Woronecki has a bee yard at the Denison Society property across the street. The DPNC reached out to Woronecki about teaching the class.
“I had never realized the Nature Center had classroom space so it had never occurred to me to ask them about using it,” Woronecki said. “It was only serendipity that connected my idea for a larger-scale class with their interest for a beekeeping-themed class.”
The course includes four, two and half hour sessions. Woronecki said the first session covers the various types of beekeeping equipment, tools, and protective clothing. The second session deals with the various types of honeybees found in the colony and the differences in their life cycles throughout the year. The third session covers pests and diseases that can affect honeybees. The final class covers any topics not finished up in one of the previous classes, plus harvesting honey and beeswax, and pollinator-friendly plantings.
“It's important that beginning beekeepers know what they're doing, both to enhance their own enjoyment and also to try to protect the honeybee stock in eastern Connecticut,”
By the end of the class participants should be able to prepare to keep healthy honeybee colonies.
Farrand said she hopes the class makes more happy bees.
To learn more about the class visit: http://www.dpnc.org/AdultFamProgs.htm.