of a Buzz
beekeepers club members
stay busy as their bees
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (November 2002) Who ever heard of
giving bees medicine? Oldham County resident Matthew Doc
Stuedle for one.
Stuedle, 71, has been keeping bees for about 45 years and has gained
a wealth of knowledge, which he shares with others in the Oldham County
Beekeepers Association. Stuedle has been president of the club for the
past four years and said that the current organization started eight
years ago with just five members.
Now 45 members strong, the organization conducts meetings each month
at the Oldham County Cooperative Extension office located at 1815 N.
Hwy. 393 in Buckner, Ky. Stuedle said that the club provides an opportunity
for anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping, from hobbyists
to professionals. At the meetings, members share information and often
watch educational videos. They have also started a small library.
In addition to monthly meetings, a couple of times a year
the group hosts a field day at a members home. On
field day, the group gathers to share a meal, look at the
host members hive and discuss potential problems, including how
to deal with pests. Thats where the medicine comes in.
Stuedle says beekeeping has changed tremendously over the past two decades.
The invasion of pests, such as the Asian Voroa Mite, has caused beekeepers
problems that did not exist 30 years ago. Stuedle said he remembers
a time when beekeeping was much simpler and less expensive than it is
today. Now beekeepers must medicate their hives in order
to stave off mites and other pests including a newcomer to Kentucky,
the Small Hive Beetle.
Mites can wipe out an unprotected hive in less than two weeks. Stuedle,
who produces his own honey, which he sells from his home, said that
he medicates his hives every three weeks to keep the bees healthy. A
healthy hive can produce 90 to 125 pounds of honey each year.
Ulyssus Key, fellow club member and long time friend of Stuedle, is
familiar with the various pests and the problems they can cause beekeepers.
Key said that he and wife, Mary, have been keeping bees for about 30
years and that he regularly medicates his hives. The couple lives in
Eastern Jefferson County.
Key, who markets his honey under the label, Beehive Delight,
said that he works with about 10 to 12 people each year who want to
learn about beekeeping. And although its a lot of work, Key said
he still enjoys it.
The bees do something different every year, said Key about
how the hobby continually keeps his interest after so many years. Keys
honey is available at Reardons Fruit Market in Crestwood and at
the Value Market on Hurstborne Lane in Louisville.
Understanding how to deal with pests is only one of the topics of interest
to beekeepers. There are many things that beekeepers must be aware of
in order to maintain hives that successfully produce honey. Protecting
colonies against diseases, parasites and predators is important, but
so is maintaining equipment and knowing how to collect the honey without
harm to the hive or the keeper.
Also, beekeepers, like Key and Stuedle, who produce and sell a certain
quantity of honey each year, are inspected by the state health department
to insure that production processes meet state regulatory guidelines.
In short, it is a lot of work, said Stuedle.
So why do so many stick with it? Just talk to any beekeeper and youll
find out. Its a love of the hobby that keeps so many dedicated.
Stuedle said that any persons wishing to learn more about beekeeping
are welcome to attend the clubs monthly meetings. In addition
to the Oldham County Beekeepers Association, Stuedle is also a member
of the Bluegrass Beekeepers of Lexington, the Kentuckiana Beekeepers
of Jefferson County, Ky.-Southern Indiana and the Kentucky State Beekeepers
Stuedle was awarded the Kentucky State Beekeeper of the Year in 2000.
Key received the honor in 2001. The Oldham County club meets on the
second Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
Those interested can contact Stuedle at (502) 241-4443 for
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