Do you want to learn how to produce fresh, delicious honey in your own back yard? Now you can, and help sustain a healthy bee population in the process in an Introduction to Beekeeping class offered through Community Education Feb. 23 – March 16.
Designed for novice and hobby beekeepers on the Central Coast, this class will teach everything one needs to know about how to start beekeeping and manage a hive. Students will also learn how to identify types of bees in the hive; how to capture, remove, and relocate bees; pest and disease management; the best flora for bees’ survival; and legal issues related to hobby beekeeping.
Instructor Archie Mitchell says that now is a perfect time to begin beekeeping. “Honeybees are still declining globally and scientists are trying to determine why. Anyone who is concerned about food production would benefit from this class by learning how critical honeybees are to the global food supply by pollination,” he explains.
One of the reasons for the decline could be what has been termed by researches as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) –an abrupt disappearance of colony bees. According to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, CCD is still a problem that threatens the health of honeybees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States. Various causes for this disorder, including pesticides and climate change, have been suggested.
Aspiring hobbyists in Mitchell’s class will learn more about the plight of the honeybees and how to help them survive, as well as how to harvest honey.
“I would love for students to become passionate about saving the honeybees and learn more about the benefits of natural honey at the same time,” he says. “It’s just not the same as most store-bought versions.”
Mitchell, who became hooked on beekeeping after working with one of his coworkers and his bees in the 1980s, says beekeeping is a very exciting hobby which gets one outdoors and close to nature. “I love it!”
He serves as director of the Western Apicultural Society, is active in the Santa Maria Beekeepers Club, and is the senior apiculturist/consultant for the California Bee Company. He also has his own local honey business and participates in honey-tasting events at area wineries.
The class meets on Saturdays, Feb. 23 – March 16, from 9 a.m. – noon on the Santa Maria campus in room S-112. The fee is $60, and an optional textbook is available for purchase at the first class meeting. Register online now at www.hancockcollege.edu. Log on to myHancock and click the Student tab to proceed. Use course number (CRN) 41672.
Students can also receive registration assistance in person at Community Education (bldg.S) on the Santa Maria campus.
For more information, call 922-6966 ext. 3209.