The city of Searcy will be hosting a free beekeeping course, taught by apiculturist Jon Zawislak on March 19 and 26. There has been a recent interest in beekeeping among Harding students. Many students have become interested in the hobby of beekeeping, and some have even learned to practice it themselves.
Most animals and humans rely on the pollination of honeybees directly or indirectly. Bees are one of the most important aspects of the pollination system.
Freshman Kaley Burks is a certified beekeeper. Burks’ grandfather began beekeeping after he retired. When Burks was 13, she began helping her grandfather with his hobby and began enjoying it herself.
“I think it’s important for others to learn about beekeeping and the importance, because bees are vital to a lot of the beauty that is around us,” Burks said. “I think people are typically scared when they think of bees, but they are so necessary for so much that goes on in the world.”
Burks and her grandfather are also members of the White County Beekeepers Association. Burks explained that as a beekeeper, her job is to help bees and to protect them, not to do their job for them. Her role is to ensure the bees are getting the nutrients they need, the queen stays healthy and the beehives are functioning.
Other students may not have beekeeping experience, but do have an interest in the practice and the beauty of bees. Senior Megan Page heard that the bee population was declining, so she decided to do research the effects to better understand the consequences. Because of her research, she has fallen in love with beekeeping.
“I think beekeeping should be something that more people know about. It is a rich resource and a beneficial practice,” Page said. “Not only does beekeeping support the bee populations, but beekeeping is also a practical way to be sustainable.”
Page said she views bees as a crucial part of the ecosystem because of their role in the pollinating of crops.
“I see God’s beauty through bees in that such a small insect can create something so intricate,” Page said. “The production of honey is so tedious, and the stores in which the honey is kept are meticulously created. It is evident that God has his hand in hives of honeybees.”
For more information on the free Searcy beekeeping course, contact the White County Extension office at (501) 268-5394.