Cowin to offer “Beekeeping is for Beginners” class

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, at 9:36 a.m.
Known as the &quotBee-Whisperer," Peter Cowin of Hampden tends bees in some of his hives.
Peter Cowin
Known as the "Bee-Whisperer," Peter Cowin of Hampden tends bees in some of his hives.

Colony collapse disorder, parasites, pesticides and lack of nectar bearing flowers have all contributed to real problems for Maine’s state insect, the honeybee — and pollinators generally. Hampden resident Peter Cowin, “The Bee Whisperer,” aims to reverse the fortunes of local honeybees.

“There is a growing interest in finding out how to help honeybees and what’s involved in keeping your own honeybee hives,” said Cowin, who has kept bees since age 11. “While commercial beekeepers have struggled with these issues, hobbyists who can give their bees that little extra attention are successfully rearing bees on farms, in back yards, even on rooftops. The key is learning more about bees: where to locate your hives and what equipment, treatments and methods work best locally.”

Last year, Hampden and Orono Adult Ed asked Cowin to give classes in beekeeping.

“Peter Cowin’s Beekeeping for Beginners class was one of the most popular and well attended classes that we offered,” said Matt Tardie, RSU 22-SAD 22 adult education director.

This year, Cowin will offer beginner classes in Bangor starting Jan. 27 and Hampden starting Feb. 5, and intermediate classes in Bangor and Orono in March. Students learn what is involved in beekeeping, where to locate hives, where to buy bees and equipment, and more.

“Last year most of my students started their first hives in April, May and June and harvested about 30 to 40 pounds of their own honey in September,” said Cowin.

For more information, contact Cowin at (299) 6948 or petercowin@tds.net. Find him on Facebook as The Bee Whisperer.

Register for classes in Bangor, Hampden and Orono via www.maineadulted.org. Cowin also offers courses in Ellsworth and Newport.

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