Diane Krout developed an interest in honeybees volunteering as a Girl Guide leader. “The second interest badge in the book was Beekeeper and I often thought that would be interesting”. When Diane moved to the country, and after her children were self-reliant, she pursued her interest.
“I was offered some used beekeeping equipment and in 1999 I joined the Wellington County Beekeepers Association”. Diane studied about the bees all winter and the next spring purchased two nucs to get started. Diane has kept two to 14 hives ever since.
Wellington Beekeepers’ Association has provided experienced mentors and Diane regularly attends the monthly meetings enjoying the unique learning opportunity from guest speakers. “I take home the knowledge and apply it to my beekeeping”.
Diane likes the idea that beekeeping allows her more freedom. “I don’t have to go out and feed the bees every day. I always try to tend to them when I know they need treatments, etc. I soon learned there are many ways to keep bees and there is always more to learn. I find beekeepers a very down-to-earth group, friendly and willing to share their knowledge and experience.” Watching the bee return heavy with pollen is a favorite sight that provides pleasure to Diane. Tasting honey she gets from the hive and sharing a bottle with family and friends rewards Diane for her efforts.
“I am not fond of killing bees to check the mite numbers of them. I bought drone comb frames, but dislike removing the drone cells.” Ever an optimist Diane commented ”I am disappointed in the spring if I find dead-outs. I soon am thinking only about the ones I have left.” Diane enjoys her work in the bee yard. She uses a garden tractor and small wagon to get things to and from the bee yard. An old stationary cabinet and a metal workbench located in the bee yard provide storage for all her tools at hand.
Diane retired from the workforce many years ago and spends her time keeping her home, garden and enjoying many other hobbies. Diane’s skills in accounting were sought out by Wellington Beekeeper’s Association and she fills the role of Treasurer.
“A number of years ago the Wellington group bought two hives which are located at Townsend house, at the University of Guelph Honeybee Research Lab, where we have our monthly meetings. Anyone interested can join our group at 4:30 in the bee yard and Paul Kelly opens these hives and shows us what’s happening in the hive, how he is managing the hives, and answers all the questions everyone have about bees. This takes place on the second Monday in May, June and September and the third Monday in October, because of Thanksgiving.”
“Then we go out for supper together and meet again at 7:30 for our monthly meeting. During hive openings in October, Paul showed us polypropylene hive winter wraps that he likes to use, but told us they were no longer available for sale.” A unique fundraising initiative was organized from this situation.
“Paul Kelly, Jim Coneybeare and I got together and organized the manufacture of these wraps and for the last seven years we have sold them to beekeepers in Ontario.” Diane markets the winter wraps, organizes the orders from the wrap program and Jim Coneybeare distributes the wraps from his honey house. The profit from the winter warp sale is donated to the OBA -Tech Transfer Program. OBA applauds the initiative and gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided to OBA Tech Transfer Program.
Diane’s best advice to new beekeepers is “join a local beekeeping association, attend the meetings, ask questions during discussion times, and stay around for the refreshment and ask more questions.”