I like to wear T-shirts that advertise that I am a beekeeper and love honey bees. Many are from the local beekeeping clubs and organizations that I support, such as the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, the DC Beekeepers Alliance, the Maryland State Beekeepers Association … etc.
The shirts make great conversation starters with people that I meet, everywhere. Many people are genuinely interested in talking about bees, beekeeping, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other problems with bees and the environment. Sometimes people ask about how they can become a beekeeper, where can they buy local honey, what to plant to support pollinators, etc.
While I am happy to talk your ears off about bees and beekeeping, you probably had somewhere else to be, so I handed you a contact card with a link to this page. Below you will find a list of organizations in the DMV that can answer all your questions. If you want to share this information with someone else who is interested, the easiest thing to do is to share the following shortened link to this page: http://bit.ly/rbj_dmv_beepage.
Beekeeping Clubs and Organizations
Your local beekeeping club is your best resource if you are:
- Interested in becoming a beekeeper …
- Looking to purchase local honey or hive products …
- Interested in planting a “pollinator-friendly” garden to help sustain the local bees …
- Considering hosting a beekeeper on your property. A hosted beekeeper will supply the bees and equipment and care for them. You benefit from having pollinators near your garden, a fascinating bee hive in your garden and often a share of the harvested honey …
- Wondering what to do about a swarm of bees that is clinging to your porch or a tree …
- Curious about honey bees and/or beekeeping …
In this region, that we refer to as the DMV: \[The] District \[of Columbia], Maryland \[and] Virginia” (also known as the Washington, DC Metropolitan Region), we have a multitude of local and regional groups.
Getting the Most from Your Club
Start by perusing the web site of a group that meets near where you live or work. Most of the local groups have done a very good job organizing their web sites so that you can easily find the information that you want.
Go to a meeting or an event where you can meet some beekeepers and talk. You will find that beekeepers love to talk about bees and beekeeping. Ask questions, talk about what you are interested in. Be aware that apiculture is a very broad and deep subject and it is subject to many different interpretations and opinions.
Most of the local clubs will let you attend meetings without being a dues-paying member. At the state level, and above, it varies. However, annual membership dues are usually very light: $20 per year per club. Most are 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and a part of your dues may be tax deductible. It is worthwhile to join your local club just to provide support for the club and their outreach and educational objectives. You don’t have to be a beekeeper to join, and it helps the hobby/profession and the species.
If you are a beekeeper, or if you are thinking about becoming one, you definitely should join at least one local club and your state organization. Some of the benefits of being a dues-paying member (varies by club):
- If you need to find a mentor, a “bee buddy” or make contact with a neighboring beekeeper, look in the directory.
- Most local clubs have beekeeping equipment that members can borrow for honey extraction, infrared photography, honey quality analysis, etc. Many of these are “high ticket” items that would not make sense for every beekeeper to invest in individually
- Some clubs have a lending library of books and literature relevant to beekeeping. Even if you will start your own personal library, you may want to try before you buy.
- Some clubs have a bee yard or opportunities for “open mentoring” where you can get a feel for how to handle bees under the watchful eye of experienced beekeeping mentors.
- Mailing lists, social media groups and other resources that are a great source of information about beekeeping in your area.
- Many clubs and organizations are 501(c)(3) non-profits so your contributions may be tax-deductible.
- First priority at getting into a beginner beekeeping class, which is critical to getting a safe start as a beekeeper. Those classes fill up very quickly, but they are usually announced to the club members first, and early registration may be limited to club members.
- Members-only events and opportunities.
The DMV List
|Region||Name / Website||Meeting Frequency||Typical Meeting Day||Meeting Location|
|Loudoun County||Loudoun Beekeepers Association||Monthly||Alternates: First Mondays and Second Tuesdays||Leesburg, VA|
|Prince George’s County||Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Association||Bi-monthly on even months||First Thursdays||Largo, MD|
|Prince William County||Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association||Quarterly||Second Tuesdays||Manassas, VA|
|Montgomery County||Montgomery County Beekeepers Association||Monthly||Second Wednesdays||Silver Spring, MD|
|Washington, DC||DC Beekeepers Alliance||Monthly||Third Wednesdays||Farragut Square, DC|
|Northern Virginia||Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association||Monthly||Fourth Tuesdays||Annandale, VA|
If you can’t find a club near you above, look at the list of beekeeping clubs complied by the The Eastern Apiculture Society (EAS) has compiled a list of all beekeeping clubs on the East Coast of the USA and Canada.