After she carried an abandoned beehive to her garden, Deb Barowsky was ready to sit back and watch the flowers grow.
An avid gardener, Barowsky soon picked up a new hobby as a beekeeper.
“The bees found me,” she said. “I just wanted pollinators for my garden.”
The busiest time of year for beekeepers is around the corner, and a newly-forming group is teaching the basics of bees.
Montgomery County Beekeepers, co-founded by Barowsky and fellow local hobbyists Debbie Froedge and Cindy Woodall, was launched to give beginners a place to network with more experienced hive managers and to raise awareness of the environmental impact of bees.
“If we lose bees, we lose a third of our food chain,” Woodall said. “We don’t want to lose our bees.”
During summer trips to Florida, Woodall was fascinated by the varieties of honey sold at flea markets and decided to get her own bees. She now sells honey at Farm Valentino.
For Froedge, it all began with a package of bees she purchased as a birthday gift for her then 7-year-old granddaughter, who wanted to become a beekeeper.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” she said with a laugh.
Froedge attended beekeepers clubs in surrounding counties and reached out to Woodall about starting one in Montgomery County.
Apiarists say there has been more interest in beekeeping recently, from beginners starting their own hives to established beekeepers increasing their numbers. Part of the appeal is becoming more self-sufficient.
“I would say beekeeping is almost a lost art,” said Stevie King, owner of King Bee, a Rockville-area beekeeping supplier, who spoke at the group’s first meeting in early February.
The next meeting on March 10 at Davidson Greenhouse & Nursery will feature information about pollinating plants from speaker Chuck Dailey, senior beekeeper at St. Peter’s Apiary in Lebanon.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
The club is setting up a Facebook page called Beekeepers of Montgomery County. For more information about the group, call Woodall at 765-364-0050.