The end of the semester can be tough, but for the Beekeeping Club it has been sweet. Before Thanksgiving, the club had started harvesting and extracting honey from six hives on campus which are located behind the community farm.
For the past few weeks, club members have taken turns filtering honey in the school’s greenhouse to prepare it for bottling. This long process has truly been a united effort, and is reaping the rewards of a hard season’s work. About 14 gallons have been harvested from the on-campus hives.
The Beekeeping Club formed in 2015 through a joint effort of Andre Burnham ’18 and Olivia Box ’17, and has since grown to include a listserv of around 50 students. Some students went on the beekeeping orientation with seasoned beekeeper Dean of Students Nancy Thompson, but many have come to the club out of curiosity.
While the Beekeeping Club is new, it has received both great support and interest from the campus community. Co-President Andre Burnham is excited about the current interest commenting, “We are trying to spread awareness of the importance of local beekeeping and teach people about bees”.
Most of the Hamilton community is looking forward to a restful winter break, bees and beekeepers included. The club is planning to prep the hives for winter before leaving campus, making sure the hives will stay warm and dry until springtime.
Meanwhile, the bees will be clustering, a term used to describe the hive as they form a ball to stay warm. During this time, the queen bee will not lay and the bees consume less food. But rest assured, come spring semester there will be plenty of work to be done to prepare the hives for a productive spring and summer season.
The club has been able to bottle much of the honey to share among members and friends. After the break they are hoping to sell their honey to the dining halls and donate from the on-campus sales to charities that facilitate agricultural sustainability.