What a privilege to be a part of the teaching team for the South Carolina 2018 Oconee County 4-H Bee Camp! Morris Warner, Senior County Extension Agent; Mallory Dailey, Oconee County 4-H Extension Agent; and Susan Marie Jones, Director of the SC Master Beekeeping Program, gave 10 young people the experience of a lifetime:
what it would be like to be a beekeeper. Keowee Bee, a division of Keowee Sky, LLC donated the use of 2 strong honeybee colonies and beekeeping equipment for the duration of the week. The weather cooled for several days allowing us some beautiful days to explore the bee colonies.
We split our time between the classroom and the bee yard. The kids learned about honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, and tasted quite a number of different varietal honeys. I can definitely say that Buckwheat Honey was NOT their favorite!
The kids loved our time in the bee yard! We demonstrated how to light a smoker. The kids enjoyed helping to keep the smoker lit by puffing the bellows.
We explored a colony of bees with each group identifying the workers, drones, and the queen. One group had the excitement of being able to watch a queen measure a cell, then back her abdomen into the cell and lay an egg...not just once, but SIX different times!! Many beekeepers have yet to observe a queen laying eggs.
The boys loved enticing drones to crawl on their gloves.
On the last day of camp, we extracted several supers of honey. Each camper was able to uncap a frame of honey and place it into the extractor. The sweet reward was being able to take home a jar of honey!
Our hope is that several of these talented youth will choose to learn more about these amazing creatures and decide to get a colony of bees of their own - earning the title "Keeper of the Bees". The Oconee County Beekeeper's Association awards a Youth Scholarship each year. Maybe one of these young people will be the next recipient!
Photos Compliments of Oconee County Clemson Extension. Used by Permission.
Copyright © 2018 By Keowee Bee, a division of Keowee Sky, LLC. All rights reserved.