Merrimack Valley Beekeepers Meet

Beekeepers from Hollis, Merrimack and Nashua, along with hobbyists and commercial practitioners from Hudson, Londonderry and towns in Massachusetts turned out toting sweets, meats and salads on Sept. 11, the day of a summer barbecue and impromptu club meeting of the Merrimack Valley Beekeepers Association.

The MVBA, one of 10 New Hampshire clubs, is presided over by Spencer Lovette, club president. He and his wife, Judie, opened their property in Mont Vernon to around 50 members and guests. People brought lawn chairs and played cornhole. Hot dogs and hamburgers grilled. Ten beekeepers entered a honey-tasting contest. Cookies, brownies and cakes were desserts.

Later, a dozen attendees in white bee suits and protective veils walked to the couple’s apiary where several tall wooden bee hives were abuzz with activity. Alden Marshall, of Hudson, a longtime member with many hives, conducted an inspection. He pulled out frames laden with bees, pollen, nectar and honey to check on the bees’ productivity.

“A hive opening by Alden, a professional, usually teaches even the more experienced among us something new,” said Spencer. “It was a highlight of the day.”

The MVBA is a nonprofit whose members meet monthly at St. James United Methodist Church in Merrimack. It is a friendly community of beekeeping enthusiasts, hobbyists and professionals. Nearly all of the 200-plus members are veterans of beekeeping education offered through the club’s annual bee school.

The bee school classes are composed of three-hour, once weekly gatherings spanning six weeks beginning in March. A full roster of club experts volunteer to teach families, couples and individuals the science and craft of Apiculture — Beekeeping.

“Participation in beekeeping continues to grow rapidly,” Spencer added. “Although information abounds online, our members say an interactive bee school is invaluable to ensuring success for the beginning beekeeper.”

Information on the Merrimack Valley Beekeepers Association can be had online: mvbee.org