• Long Beach Breeze

Beekeeping 101 classes to be offered in Long Beach

By Brooke Holley

With the idea that it’s never too late to learn a new skill, Bob Collins is extending an invitation to area residents to start off 2022 learning something unique. Collins, the media chair of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beekeepers Association, recently announced that the Beekeeping Association will be providing the chance to learn about honey bees in a free Beekeeping 101 class, offered in three sessions, with the option of a hands-on, fourth session at a local honey bee yard.

With the locale for the classes being at First Baptist Church of Long Beach, Collins is hopeful that many residents will take the opportunity to expand their knowledge and come learn about beekeeping. The dates of the first three Saturday sessions are January 8, January 22, and February 5. All sessions will be held from 2-4 p.m.

The course has been offered in the past, but, like many good things, took a break during the pandemic.

“This year, we decided to offer the classes again,” Collins offers, “and the venue we’re having them in is large enough to spread out a bit if attendees feel more comfortable to do so.” First Baptist Church is located on North Cleveland Avenue.

Collins says the question most people will have is whether this class is for them. Collins makes it clear that it’s for anyone interested in learning more about honey bees, from those with intermediate beekeeping skills to beginners looking to start their journey learning about honey bees.

Attendees will learn about the biology of the honey bee, their habits, life cycles, and behaviors. They will also learn how to properly care for and behave around bees.

“This class will give one the necessary skills to dive into the incredible world of honey bees,” Collins adds.

Incredible is just one word to describe the world of honey bees. Another word to explain them is valuable. Around twenty percent of the world’s food production is dependent on the continuing success of honey bee pollination. In fact, the value of the agriculture industry in the United States will increase between fifteen to twenty billion, all because of the pollination of honey bees.

Collins explains that “a Burger King Whopper, complete with a sesame seed bun, patty, cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, and ketchup, would be left with only the bun - sans even the sesame seeds - without these pollinators,” offering just a sample of knowledge that one could learn at a Beekeeping 101 class. 

Collins puts it very simply: “Bees are THAT important,” when explaining the lack of food production that would happen without them. The Association encourages anyone interested in the classes to find the events on their Facebook page and indicate whether they are “interested” or “going,” so that the organizers are able to prepare before the classes.

The date and location of the fourth session are still to be determined. It is very important to note that these sessions, unlike most beekeeping classes, are free. More information about the classes can be found on the organization’s Facebook page, along with a vast amount of information about the beekeeping world.

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