Author Archives: Leslie Huston

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Soap Making

BYBA board members Patty Heyl and Rick Glover will demonstrate how to make handmade soap the way your grandma did: using lye, oils such as coconut and palm, beeswax, honey, and natural fragrances. Bring along a waxed cardboard milk carton and towel to wrap it in, and you can bring home some handmade soap to try!
Note: we are using lye, so dress accordingly. Not appropriate for children under 12 yrs (must have an adult present).
Contact Patty at

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Assessing Hives going into winter, David Blocher (BYBA Bee Yard)

Join other members in this workshop to evaluate various colonies’ strength going into winter. We will be evaluating colonies on 5, 10 and 20 frames, with suggestions on how to winter small colonies and colonies that don’t occupy the standard 10 or 20 frames. This workshop will be held at the bee yard at the Aspetuck Land Trust property in Easton. Contact David Blocher at 203-449-8147 or at if you plan to attend.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hive Inspection Part 4: Richard Glover (Glover apiary)

BYBA board member Rick Glover will conduct this workshop, location TBD. This final inspection workshop of the season will look at hives to assess their preparedness for winter, and point out final touches that can help the bees survive the winter months. The workshop will start at 11 a.m. (no rain date). RSVP to Rick Glover at

Sunday, August 5, 2018 (postponed from Saturday, August 4)

Fall Preparation Workshop: David Blocher (BYBA Bee Yard)

BYBA Board member and Past President David Blocher will be hosting this fourth inspection  addressing the important issues of fall preparation. This inspection will look at hives to assess their condition and discuss what actions can be taken to give the bees the best shot at surviving the winter – August is the time to start preparing your hives for winter! Contact David Blocher at (203) 938-2539 or

This workshop will be held from 10am-noon at the BYBA Bee Yard in Easton. Click here for directions.
Bring your bee apparel!

Rain date: Sunday August 6.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Over-wintering Nucs

This workshop is a unique opportunity for you to learn how to overwinter valuable queens in nucleus colonies. The workshop will provide you with the knowledge required to make you successful, and will also provide with the equipment you will need.

The $100 workshop price includes a specially designed deep brood box modified to house two nucleus colonies side by side. To accomplish this, the box comes equipped with a thin center divider and two special inner covers. In addition to all of that, the workshop will provide you with two locally bred queens raised by our expert team of queen breeders. The queens alone are worth the price of admission.

This year the workshop will be led by Bruce Wartlieb and will occur at the BYBA Bee Yard on July 22rd at 10 am. The workshop is limited to 10 participants and sells out quickly so, please contact Bruce at to reserve your spot and receive payment instructions.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hive Inspection Part 3: Mary Howansky (Howansky apiary)

BYBA member Mary Howansky will conduct this bee inspection workshop at 1042 Stillwater Road, Stamford, CT. There is only a limited number of cars that can be parked in the driveway and one cannot part on Stillwater Road so the best thing is to park on Stillview Road and walk along Stillwater Rd. This inspection will start at 9:00 a.m. and will focus on mid-summer activity, ongoing mite inspection and queen evaluation, nectar flow (and/or dearth!). Contact Mary Howansky for directions at

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Other Considerations (BYBA Bee Yard)

Board member Bill Hesbach will lead this workshop that will check in with the Top Bar Hive at the bee yard.  He will also address … y’know … other considerations.  The workshop will start at 10am.  Bring a veil!

At this year’s “Other Considerations” workshop Bill Hesbach, and others, will cover how to evaluate a colony’s health and strength. Also, on the list is a Varroa evaluation, and when to consider splitting a colony. Starts at 10am.  It’s an all hands-on event so bring your veil and questions – looking forward to seeing you there.

Saturday June 9, 2018

Swarming & Making Splits: Win Baum (Baum’s apiary)

Past BYBA President Win Baum and his wife Stefanie will be hosting this back yard bee visit at 500 Papurah Road in Fairfield, Connecticut at 10:30 am. Come and see how Win’s bees are doing, and discuss the swarming. Contact Win Baum for directions at (203) 255-9185 or

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Hive Inspection Part: 2, Ralph Szur (BYBA Bee Yard)

Board member Ralph Szur will host this inspection workshop at 11am in the BYBA bee yard off of Freeborn Rd. Easton Ct.. This workshop will include top bar hive: designs, management, harvest, manipulation, and pros and cons vs. Langstroth design. The inspection will focus on the progress of newly hived package bees, early summer activity, and general hive health. Contact Ralph Szur at (845) 228-5635 or

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Basic Queen Rearing: Michael Lund & Leslie Huston (BYBA Bee Yard, 11am)

At this workshop we will demonstrate the Miller method of raising queens – a method that requires no special equipment and no special skills (i.e. eagle eyesight!). Attendees will also have a chance to try their hand at grafting larva into queen cups to raise queens. General background information will also be provided – how to set up and provision a colony to raise queen cells, timing, and other equipment that can come in handy when raising queens. Bring your bee apparel!
This workshop will start at 11am, at the BYBA bee yard at Trout Brook Valley, near Aspetuck Orchards Apple Barn. Contact Leslie Huston at (203) 417-2023 or

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bee Yard Open House: Steve Kinsella & Board (BYBA Bee Yard)

This workshop will focus on the start-up activities for the club’s bee yard colonies and pave the way for this year’s queen-rearing. General background information will be provided – a tour of the bee yard, and light refreshments. Bring your bee apparel! Hives will be inspected and some queen-rearing fundamentals will be discussed (reasons and methods for queen rearing).

This workshop will be held at the BYBA bee yard at Trout Brook Valley, near Aspetuck Orchards Apple Barn.  Contact Steve Kinsella at 203-394-8237 or

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Honey Tasting: Marina Marchese

Come explore the magical world of tasting honey! Learn how to identify aromas and flavors using a honey wheel. We will discuss crystallization, composition, floral sources and regions and much more.

Members are encouraged to bring their own honey, store bought or a not so good honey to learn from.  Crystallized honey is OK!

Registration requested to

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bee Wellness, Microscopy

This workshop will be held at Earthplace Nature Discovery Center in Westport. It will provide hands-on experience with preparation of specimens for lab diagnosis, microscope use, and other resources. Contact Bobbie Meyzen at (203) 948-3529 or

  1. Please remember that sign-up is required and that registered participants should plan to attend both workshops. Please email or call Bobbie Meyzen to register ( or 203-948-3529).
  2. The workshops are limited to adults only.
  3. The first workshop is hands-on so we will also require protective veils and gloves for each participant to bring with them to the yard. We also recommend bringing a folding chair as seats are limited at the bee yard.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Bee Wellness, Hands on Hive (BYBA Bee Yard)

This will be the first of two Bee Wellness workshops. This is the apiary portion, covering proper hive inspection techniques, identifying unhealthy colonies, specimen collection for in-field testing such as mite sugar rolls, and record keeping.
This workshop will be held at the BYBA queen rearing bee yard at Trout Brook Valley, near Aspetuck Orchards Apple Barn.
Contact Bobbie Meyzen at (203) 948-3529 or

  1. Please remember that sign-up is required and that registered participants should plan to attend both workshops. Please email or call Bobbie Meyzen to register ( or 203-948-3529).
  2. The workshops are limited to adults only.
  3. The first workshop is hands on so we will also require protective veils and gloves for each participant to bring with them to the yard. We also recommend bringing a folding chair as seats are limited at the bee yard.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Hive Inspection 1: Bobbie Meyzen (BYBA Bee Yard)

At the first inspection after hiving a new package, it’s important to check that the queen’s been released and has started laying eggs, as well as surveying the condition of the newly established colony. At this workshop Bobbie will check on how the bees hived at last week’s workshop are progressing. Starts at 11am.  Contact Bobbie Meyzen at (203) 948-3529 or
NOTE: this workshop will be held one week after the “Hiving Package Bees” workshop.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hiving Package Bees: Bobbie Meyzen (BYBA Bee Yard)

Bobbie Meyzen will demonstrate how to hive package bees at the BYBA bee yard at Trout Brook Valley, near Aspetuck Orchards Apple Barn. This workshop will provide a hands on opportunity to learn and try the proper techniques for transferring a package of live honeybees into a new hive. It may be a little muddy. Bring a veil. If it’s pouring we’ll do it anyway!  Starts at 11am. Contact Bobbie Meyzen at (203) 948-3529 or
NOTE: date is tentative, and depends on package bee delivery. Stay tuned for more information – and be in touch with Bobbie.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

CSI: Deadout

Bobbie Meyzen will examine a hive or two that didn’t make it through the winter, to discuss what can be known about why the bees didn’t make it.  It may be a little muddy. Bring a veil, because some of the colonies DID survive.  Starts at 11am. Rain date: Sunday.  Contact Bobbie Meyzen at (203) 948-3529 or

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bear Fence, Swarms & Cut-outs: Jeff Shwartz (Norfield Grange, Weston, noon)

Join Jeff Shwartz at the Norfield Grange, 12 Goodhill Rd., Weston, CT, at noon to learn about keeping the bears out of your bees, retrieving swarms, removing bees from inside walls and other structures. For more information, contact Jeff Shwartz at or or 203-426-8620.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hands on Hive set up: Leslie Huston & Board (Norfield Grange)

The weekend workshop will have a number of BYBA members demonstrate the basics of assembling equipment and the tools one needs to make your job easier.

  • If you have equipment to assemble, bring it and we’ll help you.
  • Bring your smoker, and we’ll show you the fastest way to clean it!
  • Discussions will include hive site location, Queen selection, and demonstrations of various pieces of beekeeping equipment that you may not have seen or used before.
  • If you have made a piece of equipment that you find useful in your beekeeping, please contact Leslie Huston so that we can make arrangements to display it—you get to explain how it is used. Nothing is too small or too big for this workshop!
  • Tips and hints galore!

Location: Norfield Grange, 12 Goodhill Road, Weston. Time: 11:00 – 2:00 p.m. Contact Leslie Huston at (203) 417-2023 or

November 27, 2018

Bill Hesbach: Over-wintering

Bill Hesbach

Bill Hesbach

In this talk Bill will cover thermoregulation during the winter months and discuss  insulation and ventilation, two different methods beekeepers use, and how they differ in both principle and effect. Questions will be welcomed during the presentation.

About the Speaker
Bill Hesbach is an EAS certified Master Beekeeper and a graduate of the University of Montana’s master beekeeping program. He is an active educator in local area bee clubs and the president of the Connecticut Queen Breeders Cooperative. For the past several years, Bill has been both presenter and leader of the BYBA pre-meeting covering timely ‘special topics’ before the monthly meetings. In addition to running Wing Dance Apiary where he produces artisanal honey, he is an author and his writings on different aspects of beekeeping can be found in Bee Culture, ABJ and Bee Craft magazines. He is an advocate of sustainable beekeeping and assists the Connecticut Beekeepers Association in their statewide efforts to educate beekeepers. Among his many interests in beekeeping, bee biology and two-queen systems are among his favorites. As a bee ambassador, Bill conducts educational seminars in local schools, area universities, and other regional bee clubs.

October 30, 2018

Dewey Caron: Working toward Natural/Treatment-free Colony Management

Dewey Caron

Dewey Caron

How natural was your beekeeping and mite control this season? What can still be done before next season?  Developing a pathway to improve bee health with reduced losses while working toward treatment-free colony management.

About the Speaker
Dr Dewey M. Caron is Emeritus Professor of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, Univ of Delaware, & Affiliate Professor, Dept Horticulture, Oregon State University. He spent 40+ years teaching, doing bee extension and bee research at Cornell (1967-70), University of MD, College Park (1970-1981) and University of DE, Newark DE (1981-2009).

With retirement in 2009, he moved to Portland, Oregon to be closer to 5 grandkids. He spends 3-4 months each year in Bolivia, where he keeps Africanized bees and teaches beekeeping (in Spanish). The rest of the year he is in the northern hemisphere; his 5 backyard colonies in Tigard OR are docile European bees.

He keeps active giving Bee Short Courses and lectures to various bee clubs and state organizations. He continues active in EAS having been President (1986), Director (both from MD and DE), Chairman of the EAS Board for 8 years, Chair of several Board committees and currently is Advisor for EAS Master Beekeeper program. He was program and Short Course chair for 2016 New Jersey and Program Chair for 2017 Delaware. He was WAS President for the 2010 WAS meeting in Salem, has been OR Board representative and is assisting with the 2019 Program and meeting.

Once an annual “regular” to BYBA, he returns after several years this fall.

September 25, 2018

Richard Cowles: The Queen of Your Dreams

Richard Cowles

Richard Cowles

Packages of bees with queens obtained from the South can be expected to be more prone to carry varroa mites and higher virus loads than locally raised queens because there may be no break in brood production in warmer climates.  This may contribute to a vicious cycle, in which beekeepers purchase packages each spring, only to have their colonies die that winter.   My queen rearing program, funded by the CT Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program, investigated three main sources of genetics for beekeepers in CT to rear their own hygienic bees (1) commercially available hygienic queens from various breeding programs around the country, (2) feral bees obtained by setting swarm traps in CT forests, and (3) feral bees taken from buildings in New England.  This presentation will discuss the outcome of these approaches, the current status of the queen production efforts, and the needs for continuing these efforts.

About the Speaker
Dr. Cowles has been working at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for almost 24 years, where he is known for his efforts to resolve many insect and mite pest problems. Rich obtained his graduate degrees in entomology from Cornell and Michigan State Universities.  Although he helped his dad keep bees while growing up in Massachusetts and took Roger Morse’s class in Introduction to Beekeeping at Cornell, he didn’t revive those interests until after having read Tom Seeley’s book “Following the Wild Bees.”  That book served as an inspiration to try and help Connecticut beekeepers by starting a local queen bee rearing program.

June 26, 2018

Pot Luck Dinner and Silent Auction

Please join us for the BYBA Annual Pot Luck Dinner Meeting & Silent Auction!
Celebrating the club’s 25th Anniversary!

On Tuesday June 26th, 2018 in the Fellowship Hall of Norfield Congregational Church on Norfield Road, in Weston, CT.

A Special 25th Anniversary commemorative gift for all attending members!
(One per membership.)

Please let us know that you are attending, what dish you are bringing (we ask that it serves 8) & how many in your party, or if you’d like to attend & not bring a dish but pay $15.00 at the door.
Contact us by text at 203.722.4789 or at  so that we may prepare accordingly.
Please also let us know if you can help us set up & clean up!

There will be a special prize raffle of a complete medium hive set up for all that have signed up!

Remember that this meeting starts earlier than our usual Monthly.
You may bring your items for donation to Jerry Goodwin for the Silent Auction beginning at 6:00 and the Dinner begins at 7:00.

We hope you join us on this auspicious occasion to celebrate
25 Years of the Back Yard Beekeeper’s Association!

May 22, 2018

Peter Borst: Harvesting Honey, Let Me Count the Ways

Peter Borst

Peter Borst

Peter will be presenting a talk based on his American Bee Journal article titled “Harvesting Honey, Let Me Count the Ways” which covers the many techniques for removing honey frames and supers from bee hives. It will be accompanied by many interesting slides and amusing anecdotes.

About the Speaker
Peter Borst has worked in the beekeeping industry since his first job working as beekeeper’s helper in Wolcott NY, in 1974. In the late 1970s he helped run a beekeeping supply store in the San Diego area, where he served beekeepers of all levels of expertise. In addition to selling equipment and supplies, he was able to get an especially broad viewpoint of their problems and concerns.
Peter was Senior Apiarist at Cornell’s Dyce Lab for Honey Bee Studies for seven years, and worked as an apiary inspector for New York State from 2006 to 2008. He is currently President of the Finger Lakes Bee Club, and has retired from Cornell University.  Peter has published over 40 articles on topics as diverse as beekeeping technique, the composition and value of pollen for bees, and the history of bee breeding. He enjoys presenting on these topics for venues ranging from local elementary schools to organizations in many states.

April 24, 2018

Roberta Glatz: The Biology of Swarming

Please join us for a timely presentation by Roberta Glatz on ‘Why & How Honey Bees Swarm and What You Can Do About It’. Roberta is returning to the club to share her knowledge of the biology of honey bees and what we as beekeepers can do to influence our colonies when it comes to swarming.

About the Speaker
Roberta is currently a member of a 12 person panel for the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets, she is on the Apiary Industry Advisory Commission. She is a Master Beekeeper with the Eastern Apicultural Society and a member of the Catskill Mountain and Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Associations.

She is a past President of the Empire State Honey Producers Association. She was named Empire State Beekeeper of the Year and was a visiting fellow in Apicultural Research at Cornell University where she worked with Dr. Morris on squash bee research.

In her most active beekeeping years she was a sideline honey producer managing approximately 125 colonies. A life long teacher, Roberta is no longer a honey producer, instead, she continues to research honey bees and share some of what she’s learned over the years with others such as with BYBA. Please join us to learn from this icon of beekeeping knowledge.

March 27, 2018

Christy Hemenway: Top Bar Hives


Christy Hemenway is a recognized leader in keeping bees in Top Bar Hives. She is a bee business owner, an author, a teacher and a speaker. She maintains the Facebook page Top Bar Hive Beekeeping and reports that the CT group is one of the largest!

Christy founded Gold Star Honeybees in 2007 to support and further the keeping of bees on their own natural wax comb, in light-weight, easy to manage top bar hives.  Gold Star Honeybees now produces the Gold Star top bar hive and other quality tools and accessories for top bar beekeeping.

Christy has written two books – “The Thinking Beekeeper-A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives” and its sequel “Advanced Top Bar Beekeeping – Next Steps for the Thinking Beekeeper” that support top bar hive beekeepers from beginner to advanced.  A copy of each of these books will be our raffle prizes and we will have the books available for sale at a nice club discount.

In 2011 Christy was invited to speak at the Maine Organic Farmers Association which was an independent TED event.  Her TED talk was titled “Making the Connection – Honeybees, Food, and YOU.”  It points up the importance of the connection between honeybees and nature and us. 

February 27, 2018

Kirsten Traynor: Over The Atlantic: European Intensive Hive Management

Kirsten Traynor

Kirsten Traynor

Kirsten Traynor’s BYBA talk will be “Over the Atlantic: European Intensive Hive Management” and will discuss how German beekeepers manage to contain losses to 4.0%.

About the Speaker
Currently the editor of American Bee Journal, a monthly magazine connecting beekeepers since 1861, Kirsten Traynor, has had a fascination with honey bees that led this English major to the lab bench. She earned a PhD in biology from Arizona State University, known for its social insect research program.
Kirsten’s research focused on honey bee communication, investigating how pheromones influence foraging behavior, physiology and gene expression. She continues to work in bee research as a USDA NIFA ELI fellow, investigating the impacts of pesticides on honey bee health and how to improve queen longevity.