Arapahoe Community College and the Hudson Gardens partnered last year on a project to integrate students into a beekeeping mentorship program. Professor Celia Norman from the Biology Department, and Education and Volunteer Manager Amanda Accamando, have been working on developing this program. They successfully had their first student enroll and complete the program this year.
The Hudson Gardens has a series of six classes that teach the basics of beekeeping. This includes but is not limited to hive management systems, how to protect the colonies during the cold winter season, and bee biology. There are additional classes that also teach swarm prevention, honeybee health, and the very popular extracting honey!
One can also apply to be a community beekeeper. The Hudson Gardens institutes hives that are handled with respect, and ensures that all management systems are minimally invasive and chemical free. “If you’re going to keep bees, you’re going to keep mites,” stated Accamando on beehive maintenance. The varroa mite (scientific name, Varroa destructor), is one of the primary pests damaging honeybee health. Oxalic acid, a natural chemical also found in cabbage and broccoli, is used at Hudson to combat the parasitic creatures.
This education is all the more important since hives around the world have been suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder. CCD has been more prolific since 2006, some cases as early as 1869. While the causes of CCD are currently unknown, there is speculation that wide use of pesticides may contribute to poor hive health. Other possible factors include lack of floral resources within flight distance, use of antibiotics in beekeeping facilities, or fungus.
For those wanting to learn more and to get involved, a pollinator and beekeeping event will be hosted on September 28th, from 9-5 pm at the second floor lounge. Applications will be available to get started. Check out hudsongardens.org to also view class descriptions and other beekeeping resources.