March 15, 2011
The secret life of bees

Albert Einstein once said, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the world then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” The importance of beekeeping and the bee is being brought into the spotlight today as billions of bees have disappeared as a result of Varroa mites and other questionable causes. Several beekeepers across Indiana are striving to save bee hives by raising their own and educating others.

Worker bees busy at work

The Indiana State Beekeepers Association has been offering information and events since 1879. Their site lists as many as 40 Hoosier beekeepers, including Hunter’s Honey Bee Farm in Martinsville, Ind., which was recently recognized in Food Network Magazine. The Hunter family’s bee farm offers guests the opportunity to fill their own honey bears, visit the hives, and indulge in numerous honey sweets. But, today’s beekeeper isn’t only found on a farm, urban dwellers are also trying their hand at hives.

Whether you’re a beekeeper, honey lover, or fear the stinging little pest, it is important to recognize bees’ active role in agriculture. On March 3, Butler University Campus Farm and the Center for Urban Ecology hosted Top-Bar beekeeping expert, Charlie Koenen, for a workshop on bees and beekeeping. Koenen discussed the significance of bees and the differences between various beekeeping methods. In his workshop he explained that every third bite of food we eat requires the help of bees and pollination.

Butler Campus Farm is adding Langstroth and Top-Bar bee hives to its farm this spring. The farm hopes that the hives will serve as an educational tool for students and the community.  For more information, visit Butler Campus Farm’s website.

 Want to try your hand at beekeeping? Indiana youth can learn the trade through an Indiana 4-H beekeeping project. The goal of the project is to educate youth about the honey bee and beekeeping through experiential learning. Adults can dive into beekeeping with the Indiana Beekeeping School and Ivy Tech Community College. Participants will hear from experts, watch videos and learn about hive construction. Classes are offered for beginning beekeepers throughout the state in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Terre Haute, Columbus and Lafayette.  

How might you help bring an end to the collapse of bee colonies around the world in your own backyard?

This post was written by Brittany Smith, an intern with the Indiana Humanities Council. Brittany is a senior Communications major at Butler University. A strong passion for food and agriculture brought her to the Council’s Food for Thought campaign.

Posted In: Miscellaneous

One response to “The secret life of bees”

  1. James Alberton says:

    Very worrying development. The UN say’s it’s a global problem now http://bit.ly/eE2NCG

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