A literal buzz will be coming from Tennessee Tech University this weekend as about 400 Heartland Apicultural Society members swarm campus for their annual meeting. Tech officials say apiculture, the keeping of bees on a large scale, promises to offer sustainable pollination and of course, honey, on TTU’s Waters Farm, so they say this was a natural fit for the organization.
“We purchased 12 colonies for a faculty grant research project, and this conference will allow us to highlight several opportunities, including our university’s commitment to the green revolution and sustainable agriculture,” said Bruce Greene, TTU agriculture professor.
Nathaniel Collett, an agriculture major helping Greene manage the bees, says this summer the bees are being fed sugar water two days a week because they arrived between flowering seasons.
“Next summer, we expect the bees to pollinate plants on the farm and begin producing honey we can sell on campus and in the community at the Farmer’s Market,” said Collett.
The conference, hosted in cooperation with the University of Tennessee, meant having to provide colonies, which house about 2,000 bees each, in a convenient location for training. That location, temporary home to six colonies brought by UT representatives for demonstrations, turned out to be President Bob Bell’s Walton House lawn. Collett says the area is clearly marked so the bees aren’t a danger to unsuspecting visitors. Conference topics include: Getting Started in Beekeeping; Queen-Rearing Basics, and Honey Management. But organizers say there’s also drama and conflict covered during “Bear vs. Beekeepers” and “Blue Sky, Dragonflies, and How to Keep Our Bees out of the Neighbor’s Pool.”