Beekeeping School Provides Training for New Beekeepers

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With the beginning of spring just around the corner, many local beekeepers are getting ready for the upcoming season by reading about bees, attending bee club meetings, and building and repairing equipment for the season. One question local citizens frequently ask is: How do I become a beekeeper?

Recently, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, and the Robeson Area Beekeepers Association conducted a beginning beekeepers school, which lasted six weeks and was taught by experienced beekeepers. A total of 19 people graduated from the school with the tools needed to be successful. With the addition of these new beekeepers, the Robeson Area Beekeepers Association will continue to be viable. Due to the success of the school, another beginning beekeepers school is planned for January 2021.

Honeybees are important to Robeson and surrounding counties. Honeybees are also important throughout America and, in fact, throughout the world. They have been found in all parts of the world except the extreme polar regions. Honeybees are 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. It has regular streets and alleys for the passage of its inhabitants, and those streets are kept clean. In some ways, it is like the human city, 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 over 2.6 million flowers to produce one 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 are valued at $14.6 billion to our nation’s economy.

The total economic value of honey and hive products in North Carolina is $150 million. Important crops pollinated by honeybees in North Carolina and their values are:

  • Blueberries ($47.9 million)
  • Apples (28.2 million)
  • Cucumbers ($13.2 million)
  • Watermelons ($12 million)
  • Squash ($10.1 million)

More information on bees and beekeeping is available by attending the Robeson County Area Beekeepers Association’s monthly meeting. The meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the O.P. Owens Agricultural Center located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. The next scheduled meeting is March 17, 2020. For more information, please contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Farm Management Agent, at 910-671-3276, by e-mail at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State University, N.C. A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.