Want to be a beekeeper? Here’s how

With the beginning of spring just around the corner, many beekeepers are getting ready for the upcoming season by catching up on reading about bees, attending bee club meetings, and building and repairing equipment.

One question that residents frequently ask is, “How do I become a beekeeper?” People interested in becoming beekeepers will have the opportunity to learn about the tools needed to be successful at the 2016 Beginning Beekeeper School.

The school will be held at the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. Classes will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23. Other classes will be held March 1, 8, 22, and 29.

Topics will be taught by experienced beekeepers. A fee of $30 will be due on the first night of class. The fee covers registration, a textbook, handouts and refreshments. Space is limited to the first 30 participants who register, so call immediately to reserve your space. To register, call Denny Clark, president of the Robeson County Area Beekeepers Association, at 910-736-8051.

Honeybees are important to Robeson and surrounding counties. Honeybees are also important in other places across America and beyond. The insects can be found pretty much everywhere except for in extreme polar regions.

The honeybee is one of the most fascinating insects in the world. They have a society of their own and, in many respects, each colony is like a small city. The colonies have regular streets and alleys for the passage of its inhabitants, and those streets are kept clean. It is like a human city in some ways, but it is organized on a different scheme so that its goal is the survival of the fittest.

Studies indicate that about 90 crops in the United States depend on bees for pollination. Bees will travel up to 55,000 miles to collect pollen and nectar. They will visit more than 2.6 million flowers to produce 1 pound of honey. One out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat comes from bee-pollinated plants. A Cornell University study says pollinated agricultural crops bring $14.6 billion to our nation’s economy each year.

The total economic value of honey and hive products in North Carolina is $150 million. Important crops pollinated by honeybees in North Carolina include blueberries, which generates $47.9 million; apples, $28.2 million; cucumbers, $13.2 million; watermelons, $12 million; and squash, $10.1 million.

People can learn more by attending the Robeson County Area Beekeepers Association’s monthly meetings. The meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the O.P. Owens Agriculture Center. The next meeting is scheduled for March 15.

Nelson Brownlee
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_NelsonBrownlee.jpgNelson Brownlee

Nelson Brownlee is an Extension area Farm Management agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center. He can be reached at 910-671-3276 or by email at [email protected]