Why bees? • Bees are agriculture at its most basic • Bees are pollinators • Our diet would be bland and dull without the hard working honey bees
Why Bees? • By teaching beekeeping in schools we encourage a new generation to keep bees • Why is this so important? • From winter of 2006 – 2011 annual honey bee losses averaged 33%! • This means we better start breeding and keeping bees in order to continue to enjoy their benefits.
What can you teach by teaching Beekeeping? • Ag Mechanics: building hives • Land selection and preparation: creating your apiary • Entomology: Bees 101 • Agriculture Processing: collecting and bottling honey • Agriculture Sales & Marketing: labeling, advertising, and selling honey and other products
What about SAE? • Beekeeping gives students an opportunity to develop unique SAEs, especially those that need to use the school resources/labs to conduct their SAE
Bees make us look good! • Positive publicity for our program, school, district, and especially for FFA • Newspaper & television coverage • Director of Schools & board • Leadership Wilson • Youth Leadership Wilson • Wilson County Fair
Other benefits of bees • New fundraiser: honey & products • Great for programs like ours that has no land or facilities for expansion. • Makes our program (your program) unique, while benefiting agriculture. • Win-Win!
Bees 101 • Bee society is unique and sets an example for humans • In the world of the honey bee: if you don’t or won’t work: you die. Period • There are only three types of bees: the queen, workers, and drones
Her majesty. . . The Queen • Only one queen per hive • A hive will die without a queen • Lives longer than the other bees, with 2 or more years being possible • She is the single largest bee in the colony • She is protected and cared for by the workers who meet her every need
The Queen • Develops from egg to queen in 16 days • Is fed a rich supply of royal jelly (secreted from glands in the heads of workers) until she emerges from her cell • Takes a virgin flight and mates with drones in a drone cloud in the air • She only leaves the hive once or twice in her life in order to mate
The Queen • Can be overthrown • It is called supersedure • The colony will choose to re-queen it’s self by supersedure when the current queen is old or ailing and the colony detects that she is not laying prolifically • If more than one queen emerges from queen cells, they will fight to the death • There can only be one queen
Noble Workers • Literally work themselves to death with a lifespan of only six weeks during the active season; and four to eight months during the less active winter months • Are all females • Smallest bees in the hive
Workers • Brilliant example of teamwork • Are in compulsory cooperation in the hive • Duties change as a worker ages: housekeeper; undertaker; nursery worker; queen attendant; forager; fanner; architect and builder; guard; field worker; and finally a noble death after literally working themselves to death.
Woeful Drones • The only males • Smallest population in the hive • He cannot do any work • The hive keeps them around and takes care of them in case they are needed for mating • Only purpose is to mate • Mate once. . . Then die • Kicked out in the winter to die
Apiary site selection • Face southeast so that the morning sun wakes and warms them early to begin their work day • Easily accessible; with some wind protection; in dappled sunlight, not direct; with good ventilation; level; on firm, dry ground. • Far enough away from school: yet close enough
Seasons with bees • Bees work on days that the temp is above 55 degrees (+ or -) • When nectar flows & pollen abounds: bees are in Heaven! • If the weather gets dry, bees must be fed. Sugar water, much like hummingbirds • Honey is collected in Aug/Sept, depending on your hives/weather/etc • Winter is dormancy, they kick out the drones and form a bee clump to stay warm; eating honey
So, how did we start. . . • Local beekeepers approached Director of Schools, a former beekeeper • He called Pam Walker and said “I choose you to start this program” • Community mentors got on board • Planed a budget and timeframe • Sent to Director: approved by Board • Got vendor approval; placed orders
Include in budget • Determine how many hives, what size, how deep, etc. • Include costs for hives: cheaper if you assemble • Wax – tools – suits to outfit a class in various sizes – gloves – smokers – books – sugar – bees/with queen • Apiary site prep & fence
Our Budget • We started with 6 hives: 3 Italian 3 Russian • Our start up budget was $6,000 • We included EVERYTHING we thought we would need; figuring we would receive less than we asked for, but we received the total amount requested from the county
Actual Costs, for a class of 30 and 6 hives • Supplies to build hives: $ 936.00 • Other supplies: $1,181.00 • Jackets/gloves: $2,099.00 • Sugar (feed): $ 300.00 • Bees: $ 551.00 • UT Books: $ 162.00 • Apiary Set-Up: $ 395.00 • Initial Costs: $5,924.00 • Labels: $ 135.00
Other Considerations • L I A B I L I T Y • Meeting with county attorney to discuss a release of liability for each student to sign • Worked with school nurse on medical releases • Special considerations & paperwork for students with Epi-pens
Where to put it in the curriculum? • We chose Small Animal Care as the initial class because all others were freshmen • Then Honors Agriscience (best class) • Then Wildlife Management • Thursdays are Bee Days; mentors come every Thursday to work with class • Start with Bees 101 – train before taking to apiary
Timeline • Budget and initial order established in early fall • Order bees by October • Get all hive bodies, supers, frames, etc assembled in the fall • Get apiary set up • Train students how to do and what to do • Expect bees around Easter • Enjoy your new hobby: bees are the bomb!
Results • Community awareness and appreciation of our program • Positive publicity: which makes FFA very popular with administration • New fund raiser: selling 1 pound jars for $8.00; sold 100 jars on initial rob • WCHS to play prominent roll in the 2013 Wilson County Fair: The Year of the Honey Bee
Questions • Ask away • Contact me later if you need anything: • Pam Farmer-Walker, 931-607-5957 cell • Email: email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org