About Berkshire Farms Apiary

Hi, my name is Tony Pisano.  Here at Berkshire Farms Apiary, we’ve been keeping bees, harvesting honey, making pure beeswax candles, lip balm, and hand salve since 2005.  Our goals are to help to educate people about the value of honeybees in our lives, and to  share what we have learned with you, whether you are  interested in keeping honey bees, or just want to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

Berkshire County. click map for larger view

“The Berkshires” is a county in Western Massachusetts. We are in the northern portion and have a few hives in my hometown of North Adams, and some in Clarksburg, Cheshire, and Williamstown. We are literally minutes from the southern Vermont border and about an hour from Albany, NY.

We are mostly hill towns with a few small cities mixed in. North Adams is the smallest city in the state with a pop. of about 13,000.  This is a great place to keep bees, with a good mix of open, wooded, and farm land. 

a honey bee collects pollen on first dandelions

We usually have first dandelions in late April/early May, and our first frost sometime in September. There is usually something in bloom throughout the whole season with the abundance of weeds  flowering trees, small farms and backyard gardens.

backyard hives in the afternoon sun

We never know what summer will bring. 2011 was very dry and 2010 it rained about 80% of the time. On average, bees find plenty of forage throughout the summer and the hives build up nicely.

an abundance of Berkshire fall beauty

 Fall is an amazing time here in western MA. We live right in the middle of an artist’s masterpiece. All of the senses are flooded with beauty.

 We hope to make this a “how to” place to come for beekeepers new and old by writing articles with a wide range of interest. We’ll not only help you choose and assemble equipment, but also show you how to make much of the stuff yourself, from something as simple as an entrance reducer, right down to a fixture for assembling your home made slatted racks. We hope you will sign up to recieve our updates and return again and again. Happy Beekeeping!

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28 Responses to About Berkshire Farms Apiary

  1. alethea says:

    Great, Tony! I look forward to reading your posts!

  2. Mackenzie Bailey says:

    Terrific job Dad! It looks like you will be able to help a lot of people and get a lot of good information out there. Very nice.

  3. melissa zepka says:

    I need your help… I know this is not the place to be asking questions.. but I have looked everywhere to figure out how to move the bees I have living in my front lawn. I love gardening and I have a 2 year old son and I want to protect both of us from getting stung. I do not want to kill them.. I love all animals and bugs, they all serve a purpose on our earth… please any advice would be grateful!!!

  4. Josh pisano says:

    I really like your site dad. Nice job on the setup and love your photos . Love Josh

  5. Melissa says:

    Hi! I noticed you haven’t been selling your honey at the farmers market this year. Can you tell me where I can purchase your honey? I look forward to it every winter in my tea!
    Thanks!

  6. Anna says:

    Hi! Is your honey ready yet? I would love to purchase some, it’s the best honey I’ve ever had!

  7. Barbara Lampron says:

    Looking forward to your terrific honey for the 2011 season. Keep up the great work.

  8. paul says:

    Hey Tony,
    Nice site – I had a horrible shock when I found it as I am building my own wordpress site about bees, I am also in Berkshire and your web style is similar to mine! Good news is I am in the original Berkshire in England! ;0)
    Have a great season next year.

    • Paul, I look foward to seeing your site. I don’t think we have to worry much about competition. I also enjoy taking bee photos, and all of the pictures are ones I took. I’ll be glad to put up a link to your site if you want me too. It might be interesting for people to read about two Berkshire Beekeepers, one on each side of the ocean.

  9. BOB CONNORS says:

    Please include me on your email meetings postings.

  10. Barry says:

    I am trying to get started in beekeeping and I was wondering if the Northern Berkshire beekeepers association answered questions by email. I have read that you have meetings on the last Tuesday of every month which clashes with another meeting that I have. Thank you for your time

  11. evan says:

    Help! I have a 2 yr old hive of honeybees inside my wall and they’re taking over! They just recently found their way into my house. Please contact me ASAP to move them out of here. I really need some help!!
    Thank you

    • Evan, Go to Beesource.com Click on Beekeeping forums. Scroll down to the section called the exchange, then click on bee removal/swarm removal to see if there is someone in your area who will do a “cutout”.
      If you don’t find anyone there, Look in the section called Associations and Societies.Scroll down and click on “local associations” There will be a box that says “Thread display options. When the box opens, asking how far back you want to go,choose “beginning” and a state by state listing will come up. Choose your state and go from there. good luck

  12. Joe Lora says:

    Looking for some hives

  13. Peter Czaja says:

    First time beekeeper. Would appreciate any help. Thanks

    • Hi Peter, First of all, read as much as you can. Get catalogs from Betterbee, Brushy Mountain, Mann Lake, Dadant and other suppliers. They are a wealth of information. Find a nearby beekeepers club or organization. The locals will be able to guide you as to what works in your area, and many clubs have mentoring programs and short courses. If you want to build your own hives, buy my book Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment, published by Storey and available online, in any bookstores and if not already, soon to be in Tractor Supply. good luck.

  14. Carolyn C DeLuise says:

    Hello, We would really like to come visit your apiary this weekend, but I cannot find your hours posted anywhere or your address or directions on how to get there. Can you assist me? Thank you. Carolyn D.

    • Sorry I missed you. My hives are scattered in a few different locations, with some at my house and at different farms in the area. They are pretty much hunkered down for the winter, but if youmare in the area we could talk. I mostly play at a jam sessions on Saturday mornings at Mass MoCA, but will be doing a food fair at Pine Cobble School in Williamstown this week.

  15. cortney burns says:

    Hello. I’m hoping we can connect. I’m new to North Adams and really want to set hives up. Need help, advice and possibly a hive manger as well.

    • The Bennington Beekeepers meet tonight at the old soldiers home at 7pm. The guest speaker is Mike Palmer, one of the most well known beekeepers who sells queens that he raises and produces about 40,000 pounds of honey every year. The Northern Berkshire beekeepers will be meeting on Tuesday, April 25th at 7 pm. We meet at the Adams Visitors center. Hope you can make it.

  16. ma225mph says:

    Hi Tony, my son and I are new beekeepers in Pittsfield although we have run into a problem with the Pittsfield planning board because of a neighbor who owns property next to my although he does not live on it as its just a lot with a barn and my to hives are well away from the property lines . I need help and support to educate the board that there is no danger to anyone as long as their not messing with the hives. I need any help from any beekeepers or anyone interested.
    Please contact me at this email address or my number is W.Slater at 413 3292972 or read the I Berkshire report online

  17. ma225mph says:

    Hi Tony, my son and I are new beekeepers in Pittsfield although we have run into a problem with the Pittsfield planning board because of a neighbor who owns property next to my although he does not live on it as its just a lot with a barn and my to hives are well away from the property lines . I need help and support to educate the board that there is no danger to anyone as long as their not messing with the hives. I need any help from any beekeepers or anyone interested.
    Please contact me at this email address or my number is W.Slater at 413 3292972 or read the I Berkshire report online..
    My Email is MA225MPH@gmail.com, I’ll take advice or support from anyone who might have an idea of what we might do .
    Thank you

    • Hi, I would love to hear more specifics about your situation, such as, was there a confrontation between you and your neighbor?, are there any zoning laws in Pittsfield regarding beehives?. Often, it’s better if there aren’t because town and city governments seem to err on the side of overregulation. On one hand, we want the right to do things on our property, and on the other hand, we don’t want to break laws, endanger anyone or put anyone at risk. I would be interested in speaking on behalf of beekeeping at the planning board meeting if i am available. Some quick thoughts: Be sure your hives are as far away from your property line as possible. A hedge, some bales of hay, or fencing close enough to the hives will get the bees to gain height more quickly as they leave to forage, making it less likely that anyone will be in their immediate flight path. Be sure you have “gentle” bees. If you have bees that tend to fly up in your face when you open the hive, constantly bump you as you are tending them, or follow you for a distance with an angry buzz they might not make for good neighbors. Bee populations are decreasing and several towns in MA including Longmeadow and Williamstown have passed resolutions designating their towns as “Pollinator Friendly”. While they don’t carry any legal weight, the resolutions are meant to provide education as to the importance of all pollinators, and encourage best practices such as less mowing, more plantings that provide forage for pollinating insects, and discouraging the use of pesticides.

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