McNeese Bee Club gives students hands-on experience with beekeeping

McNeese Bee Club gives students hands-on experience with beekeeping

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A new club on the McNeese University campus is getting some buzz.

The Bee Club just started last semester and is giving students of all majors the chance to get hands-on experience with beekeeping.

“I had never personally been around bee hives like this, but had always had an interest," Emerald Fletcher, a junior at McNeese, said.

Fletcher studies natural resource conservation management and said when she heard about the chance to interact with hives, joining was a no-brainer.

“They collect the pollen, raise their broods and the health of their population; it’s so critical. For us to understand the inner workings of what’s going on in the beehives, it’s just an insight you can’t get anywhere else," Fletcher said.

“Everyone wants to think about bees as just extracting honey and spinning honey down and bottling it in," Darrin Goodwin, Farm Manager at McNeese, said.

Goodwin helps with the Bee Club and said there’s so much more to beekeeping than that. While the students do learn how to collect and bottle honey, they also get hands-on experience maintaining the actual hives.

“We have to have the proper maintenance. We have to have a good colony that’s strong. So, by introducing the correct genetics and introducing good management and there’s also the research side of it trying to learn what we can do to better them," Goodwin said.

That research helping understand the future of the bee population in the Southwest Louisiana area.

“Understanding the health of the bee populations against the verroa mites and the colony collapse disorders that have been prevalent in the recent years; if we can be on the cutting edge of that research in this area, just to do our part in making sure we do have healthy bee populations around here, that’s really awesome to be a part of," Fletcher said.

If you’d like to buy this honey, you can find it at Gayle Hall on the McNeese campus.

The club’s first meeting will be held Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Gayle Hall auditorium.

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