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Extension to offer class exploring finer points of beekeeping

Published 6:24pm Monday, January 13, 2014

The Tallapoosa County Extension Office is looking to create some buzz around a new course it’s offering.

The extension office will host a beginner beekeeping series Thursday nights from Jan. 30 to March 20 at 6-8 p.m.

Shane Harris, extension coordinator, said this will the first time the office has offered this type of course.

“It’s the first time we’ve offered it here in the 13 years I’ve been here. It’s just something we’ve been thinking about doing the last couple years,” Harris said. “We’ve had some interest from people inquiring about beekeeping, so we’re giving it a try to see what the response might be. We’ve talked to a couple beekeepers in the area, and they’re in full support of it.”

The cost to register for the course is $45, which includes a textbook for the eight classes.

The series will be conducted by Damon Wallace, master beekeeper and president of the Alabama Beekeepers Association.

Beekeepers will help participants acquire and assemble the equipment needed, and participants will have an opportunity to get honeybees to have their first colony.

“We’ve already got several folks signed up to take part in it. If you’re thinking about doing something like this, or if you’re just curious, this course would be something to go through,” Harris said. “You don’t have to be experienced at all. We’ll start you off with the basics and walk you through the steps of what it takes to be a beekeeper, the kind of materials you have and the general knowledge and rules.”

Harris added that those interested or curious about beekeeping are welcome.

“It’s generally for adults, but we highly encourage youth, especially teenagers, that are interested in this kind of thing,” Harris said. “It might be something they want to get into.”

Harris said the course will also help participants to understand the importance of the honey bee to daily life.

“The honey bee is an important animal. Not only is it a great pollinator, but it is very critical to a lot of food we eat and products we use,” Harris said. “We just want to raise the importance of the honey bees themselves and also encourage people to maybe get back into that hobby of beekeeping. The higher population of honey bees should ensure more success in our farms and our gardens.”

For more information on the beekeeping courses or to register, contact the extension office at 256-825-1050.

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