The plight of the honeybees has been a frequent topic in gardening and nature publications in the recent past, reaching front-page status in 2007 when populations of honeybees in North America dropped so precipitously that the decline was dubbed by beekeepers and scientists “colony collapse disorder.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that during the year spanning April 2014 to April 2015, Maryland lost nearly 61% of its beehives, versus 42% nationwide.Much needs to be done to understand the myriad of contributing causes and what can be done to reverse this trend.
The Anne Arundel County Master Gardener Beekeeping Project provides a window into the world of these fascinating creatures and gives the project members a unique opportunity to educate the public, including children, about the life and decline of the honeybees and what they can do to help.
The Beekeeping Project began in 2009 with the establishment of one hive at Hancock's Resolution in Pasadena and expanded in 2010 with the addition of a second hive at Hancock’s Resolution. In 2013 the Master Gardeners installed an additional hive at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.
Hancock's Resolution is a historic stone farm house on a 15-acre farm at 2795 Bayside Beach Road in Pasadena. It is open on Sundays from early April to late October, usually from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Visitors can tour the grounds and learn many aspects of the history of this and other colonial farms. They can also see the work in progress as the Friends of Hancock's Resolution restore this property. The AA Master Gardeners give beekeeping demonstrations approximately once a month when the park is open. Information can be found on the Hancock’s Resolution website.
Quiet Waters Park is a 340 acre Anne Arundel Regional Park between the South River and Harness Creek with a variety of activities including hiking, boating, ice skating, and picnicking. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the Master Gardeners give beekeeping demonstrations once a month on the second Saturday at 11:00 AM uphill from parking lot J. More information can be found on the Friends of Quiet Waters Park website.
Master Gardener Beekeeping Project volunteers present the demonstrations, maintain the hives, and feed the bees as necessary during the winter months. In addition, the Project is often called upon to do presentations and demonstrations for schools, garden clubs, and other organizations.
Master Gardener and interns may contact Pam McFarland or Mary Yee to volunteer. For additional information, please contact Mike Ensor at the University of Maryland Extension at 410-222-3900.