Agricultural Hall

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    *  UPCOMING  *


Boston Area Beekeeping Association's (BABA's) intensive beekeeping class begins February 8th.

Bee school is the best place to begin your beekeeping adventure.  The five indoor classes (and several 'hands-on' trips to an apiary in early spring) are comprehensive and fun.  The class is already three-quarters full, so sign up soon to reserve your spot.  See for registration and details.


Sunday, February 24, 2018

Also, a basic, single beekeeping class will be taught at the Boston Nature Center. If you plan to start beekeeping this year, the BABA class (above) is best. If you're considering beekeeping sometime in the future, the BNC class is a great intro. See


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bee orders begin January 17th. See for ordering info.


Log inoculation can start anytime; there's a small supply of fresh oak logs nearby, and I'll pick up a bag of shiitake spawn in the next week or two. Call for updates, or check back on this page. Logs/spawn/sealing wax will all run about $40/ea., but will keep rewarding you with mushroom 'flushes' for several years.

For other workshops and happenings, check the Workshops calendar here

Agricultural Hall?

In 1818, the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture built the original Agricultural Hall on Dighton Street in Brighton.  It served as the hub of the Brighton Fair and Cattle Show, one of the earliest and largest such fairs in the country.  In 1829, "a 17-pound turnip, a 19-pound radish, and a bough on which pears hung like a cluster of grapes were among the outstanding exhibits of that year."  In 1844 the building was moved to its present location at the corner of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Washington Street.

Dr. William P. Marchione & 

The Bostonian Society

Brighton Allston Historical Society

Agricultural Hall

245 Amory Street

Jamaica Plain, MA  02130

617-388-7378  /  e-mail Ag Hall

Sat.&Sun., 10:00am-2:30pm & by appt.


2018 BEES!

Bees sold by Agricultural Hall are supplied by local dealers who drive south every spring to pick up packages from bee farms (most of which are in Georgia).  The suppliers make the trip back in 24 hours, usually with about 1000 packages in tow (ten million bees!), and I bring them to Ag Hall soon thereafter.

Here's this year's list:

Package / Nucs / other Variety
Marked Queen
Arrival Date (est.)
Package Italian Yes Monday, April 2 $145
Package Italian No Monday, April 2 $140
Yes Monday, April 9 $145
No Monday, April 9
Package Russian hybrid* (to be determined) Weekend of April 21 $145
Packages Carniolans
Yes May 1 $145
Packages Italians
May 1

Hardeman Apiary mates their Russian queens in an open mating yard.  Drones are not selected/controlled, which means they could drift from non-Russian hives.  When bred this way, the queens are referred to as Russian hybrid queens. These are not Russian queens from the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association-certified program.  Russian queens can be purchased through several RHBA members.  See .

To order bees:

Send an email to Bees2018(at), and please tell me:

1)  How many packages;
2)  Which variety (Italian, Russian, or Carniolan);
3)  Whether you want a marked or unmarked queen (if applicable); and
4)  Which date you'd prefer.
5)  Please also include a phone number where I can reach you in a pinch.  (Sometimes things move quickly when the bees come to town.)

I will respond with a confirmation email, along with payment instructions.


Briefly, here are some characteristics of ItalianCarniolan & Russian bee stocks:

  The most common commercial bee.  Good honey producers.  Generally gentle.  Long brood season means large colonies well into fall.  Italian bees are more likely to rob honey from other colonies, putting healthy colonies at risk of catching and spreading disease.
Carniolan:  They build comb and gather honey very quickly.  Reportedly the most docile bee (but aggressiveness in any variety can vary widely).  Not likely to rob.  Because their buildup is fast, they require more careful management to control their tendency to swarm.
Russian:  Brood production is more closely related to nectar flow than in other bee stocks; spring build-up is good, and when nectar falls off in late summer, the queen cuts back dramatically on her egg-laying.   They are reportedly more hygienic (especially better at fighting-off parasitic mites) and generally more resistant to disease.  Defend well against robbing.  They have a reputation for being more aggressive than Italians and Carniolans, but I have seen little evidence that this is true.  Aggressiveness has several causes -- all manageable.

Again, there are always variations in health, production, and aggressiveness from colony to colony, even within varieties.

For more details, see;
...or do a web search.  There's a lot of info out there!


Ordering notes & tips:

> Aim for early bees.  It's not unusual to hive packages with snow still on the ground.  And if you successfully hive a package in early April, you could be taking honey in June.  Later packages seem to merely survive, but not always thrive, ...until year two.

> Dates are estimates.  We can hope and cross our fingers, but they'll come when they come.

> Your bees come from three different suppliers, and each supplier has a slightly different reimbursement policy for dead queens and packages containing laying workers.  In general, dead queens and laying workers will be replaced if reported within a day or two.  All but one require returning the dead queen for documentation purposes.  (They sometimes use her to determine cause of death -- helps breeders keep stocks healthier.)


Some things to consider in the off season:

  • If you have bees, and they're looking healthy so far, an early split (mid-April to mid-May) might be worthwhile (and fun!).
  • Plan when and where to set swarm traps.  Lures help.
  • Do you have all the woodenware you need for spring?  Is it clean and bee-ready?
  • Do you have locations to place your new hives made from splits or caught swarms?
  • And if you know anyone wanting to host a hive, please share it with others either by calling me, or by posting the contact info to the BABA Google Group.