Young beekeepers can be part of special program

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2016

As most of you know, I love bees, beekeeping and pollinators. I always want to help our pollinators thrive. Last year, the Rowan County Beekeepers Association created the youth apprentice program, and it has been tremendously successful.

The 2015 apprentice was Branson Barber, who is now raising his own bees. This brings me to my next announcement, which is that the Rowan County Beekeepers Association will have a 2016 Beekeeper Apprentice program.

If you are a youth age 10-14 and are interested in beekeeping, then the apprentice program may be for you. Applications are available at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension, 2727-A Old Concord Road; James River Equipment, 805 Klumac Road; and Rowan County Farm Bureau, 304 Birdie Drive, or you can email for an online application. They must be completed and turned in by July 15.

Once the youth applies, they will go through a review. Unfortunately, the association can only choose one, and last year, the competition was steep, so make sure your applications are top notch. Once the youth is selected, he or she will receive equipment to get started, including a smoker, hive tools and a feeder.

In addition, he or she will receive a 3-pound package of bees (10,000 bees with a queen), one year membership to the Rowan County Beekeepers Association, expert advice, and they will also get expert mentors to help guide them along the way. The entire program is worth over $500, and it is a great way to ensure the success of beekeepers.

If you would like more information on the Youth Beekeeping Apprenticeship or would like more information on ways to save the honeybees, please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danélle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.