On Saturday, January 17, from 8 am until 3 pm, Milford High School and the Delaware Beekeeper’s Association will hold “Beekeeping 101” at Milford High School. Registration is necessary to attend the course and there is a cost of $50.
“Honey bees have been correlated with canaries in coal mines,” said Ken Outten, Science Teacher at Milford High School. “As honey bee numbers decline, we should all be aware of what they could be telling us.” Mr. Outten said that many of the foods we eat are pollinated by bees, which is why increasing the bee population is critical for the sustainability for bees.
The course will cover the biology of the honey bee and the essential equipment necessary to begin beekeeping. Participants will learn where to purchase bees and how to manage hives in the first year, as well as typical bee pests and dangers. The course ends with a question and answer session with a panel of bee experts.
“The number of hobby beekeepers has been increasing,” according to Mr. Outten. “Many people are learning about the toxic environment bees face with herbicides, pesticides and other dangers while traveling from plant to plant.” Mr. Outten said that the demand for the course last year was so large they had to turn people away because the venue was not large enough. They decided to move the course to Milford High School in order to accommodate more attendees.
In addition to growing hobby beekeepers, membership in the Delaware Beekeeper’s Association has also grown over the past few years. “Many young professional couples are interested in a hobby that gives them the mental stimulation of learning the many interesting nuances of honey bees,” Mr. Outten said. “They also enjoy the thought of a hobby that is beneficial to the environment and to mankind. Not to mention that the sweet reward of fresh honey at the end of the season is an added bonus.”
Mr. Outten, who is a beekeeper himself, said that honey bees are fascinating species. They all work and live together in numbers that range from thirty to sixty thousand in one hive. Many biologists say that honey bees are a “super organism” because the population works together to support and grow the hive, performing a number of jobs that range from guarding the entrance, nursing the young, gathering nectar or pollen, attending the queen and housekeeping.
Registration forms may be obtained at the Delaware Beekeepers website at http://delawarebeekepers.com/. Those interested should print and complete the registration form and mail it with a $50 check for each attendee to the Delaware Beekeeper’s Association, Bob Bauer, Secretary-Treasurer, 3210 Effendi Drive, Middletown, DE 19709.