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Upcoming class in Estacada will focus on ways to start a beehive, where to acquire bees

An upcoming class will cause Wade Creek House Antiques to buzz with activity.

John Rockrohr of the Portland Metro Beekeeping Association will teach a beekeeping class from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the shop at 664 N.W. Wade St. The class will focus on ways to start a beehive, where to acquire bees and how to keep the creatures healthy. Both new and experienced beekeepers are welcome at the event, which is $15 per person. Pre-registration is required and can be done by calling Wade Creek House antiques at 503-630-7556.

Rockrohr, who has worked as a full time beekeeper, has been practicing the craft since he was a child. He teaches classes on beekeeping at Clackamas Community College, as well as other locations.

Right now, he maintains 10 beehives and sells honey, soap, lotion and other products from the bees at www.ourbizisbees.com.

Rockrohr said that bees are easier to care for than traditional pets such as cats or dogs.

"Bees need food and water, but you don't have to do it as often," he continued.

He noted that one of the keys to successful beekeeping is learning what a healthy bee looks like.

"It's a matter of keeping track of the bees and knowing whether they look healthy or sick," he said. "That's very important for beginning beekeepers."

Rockrohr cites many interesting elements of beekeeping, including the behavior of the bees.

"The bees as a group decide what's done and how it's done," he said. "It's fascinating."

He added people may not know the total number of bees that reside within a single hive.

"Most people see those boxes and don't realize there's 4,000 bees in that box," he said.

Rockrohr enjoys sharing his knowledge of bees and beekeeping with others. He encouraged anyone interested in learning more about the insects to attend the class.

"I hope to go from walking in the door and seeing 5, 10, 15 faces looking bored and turning that into one thousand questions," he said. "Then I've done my job."

He added that community is important for both aspiring and experienced beekeepers.

"Join a club, or find someone that has bees. Ask to come over and watch them (work with the bees) and see what's going on," he said.

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