Nearly 400 people are planning to attend the eighth annual Fall Bee School — hosted by the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association — Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Bryan.
According to Denise Mann, communications volunteer with the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association, the Fall Bee School will have approximately 50 educational classes from basic beekeeping to advanced beekeeping for anyone looking to broaden their beekeeping knowledge.
“Anyone who has ever had an interest in bees or beekeeping, or if you just love honey, or need a tax exemption for your property, or you want better pollination for your gardens, then this event is for you,” she said. Wednesday. . “It is open to everyone, including the youth.”
In addition to educating people about bees and beekeeping through the Bee School, Mann said the proceeds from the event will go to the associations’ youth program. The program teaches young people how to be beekeepers and how to later get scholarships and take care of a beehive themselves, she said.
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Some of the classes offered include living and working with hot bees, hive security and the biology of mating honeybees, Mann said.
“There are many lessons this year about landscaping, bee-friendly plants, and how to get your ag value for an agricultural exemption on your property. For Brazos County, if you have less than 20 acres but more than five acres, you can’t get an exemption unless you have livestock or you [have] bees,” she said. “There are lessons on honey extraction, wax production on how to make things like lip balms and candles. And the classes are taught by several master beekeepers from across the state.”
There will also be vendors selling beekeeping equipment and supplies, and honey products and laundry products, she said.
Chris Barnes, Co-Chairman and Youth Program Director of the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association, has been part of the association since its inception in 2015, and will be teaching a few classes at the event this year.
Barnes said he hopes people will look at beekeeping differently after taking his classes.
“When people think about beekeeping, they often get quite nervous because of everything they think they have to learn,” he said. “And there’s a lot to learn, but it’s one of those things that you can learn along the way. You don’t have to know everything from day one.”
Barnes also emphasized the importance of bees and why bee education is essential for a growing population. Honeybees, in particular, are responsible for pollinating about 35% of the food humans eat, Barnes said.
“Without honeybees pollinating those crops, our grocery stores would be pretty bare, especially the produce aisles,” he said.
Barnes said more students are enrolled in their youth program and he is grateful that money is being released to equip them to become young beekeepers.
Lynn Burlbaw, co-chair of the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association, said 24 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are participating in the bee-farming program.
“It’s quite difficult to raise bees without any family involvement, so this attracts families to do something together, and it teaches those young people responsibility,” he said. “At the end of the program in May, the students will be given their own beehive and will be working with it in the coming year. … We also have young people who, if they complete that, can receive scholarship money for university.”
Burlbaw said he recently became a beekeeper and currently has three hives of his own.
“My granddaughter also joined the youth program and my son got involved in it too,” he said. “It has been really nice for us and for our family to spend time together.”
The cost is $70 per person; $125 for a pair; and $15 for children with a parent or guardian.
To register for the Fall Bee School, view the class schedule or find out more at bvbeeks.org/events/bee-school/. Walk-ins are accepted during 7 AM check-in.
- Additionally, the BeeWeaver Honey Farm in Navasota hosts an Infuzzed Honey Cook-Off on Saturdays from 4-8pm. The free event, according to their website, includes educational workshops on honey infusion, beeswax products, and mead. For more information, visit beeweaver.com/store/INFUZZED-p371056341.