Beekeeping School Provides Training

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With the beginning of spring just around the corner, many local beekeepers are getting ready for the upcoming season by catching up on reading about bees, attending bee club meetings, and building and repairing equipment for next season. One question local citizens frequently ask is: How do I become a beekeeper? Persons interested in becoming beekeepers will have the opportunity to learn the tools needed to be successful by attending the 2023 Beginning Beekeeper School. The school will be held at the O.P. Owens Agriculture Center, located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. Classes will begin on January 31 at 6:00 p.m. and continue: February 7, 28; March 7, and 14. Topics will be taught by experienced beekeepers. A fee of 30 dollars will be charged, which covers registration, textbook, handouts, and refreshments. Class is limited to the first 30 to register, so call immediately to reserve your space.

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 inmates, and those streets are kept clean. In some respect it is like the human kind of city, but in another way, it is organized on a different scheme that has for its goal the survival of the fittest.

Studies indicate 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.

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 ($12.1 million)
  • Squash ($10.1 million)
  • Total economic value of Honey and Hive Products ($160 million)

Persons can also obtain more information by attending the Robeson County Area Beekeepers Association monthly meetings. The meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., also at the O.P. Owens Agricultural Center, located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. The next scheduled meeting is January 17.

For more information on biosecurity, please contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Small Farms Agent, at  910-671-3276, by email at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu, or Andy Leggette, President, Robeson County Area Beekeepers Association at (919) 971-3545 or visit our website at //robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.