Hiveminders club hosts fall Honey Harvest
Sunday, Sept. 20, more than 50 students congregated on the third floor of Harned Hall with a single thing on their minds—honey.
These novice beekeepers, part of the school’s Hiveminders club, were certainly not disappointed; according to Hiveminders treasurer James Chisel, the Honey Harvest event collected roughly nine gallons or 100 pounds of raw honey.
The honey was then processed and bottled until it was ready to be sold alongside lip balm made by the club to students and community members at the student market being held in November.
The club places a strong emphasis on the health of the hive, making sure they only take as much honey the bees can spare. Removing all the honey from the hives would be disastrous for the inhabitants, as the honey is the only source of food the bees have while remaining dormant in the winter months.
“Primarily, we want to just open people’s eyes to bees, bring awareness to them,” Hiveminders president Kyle Kolisch said. “Our secondary purpose is providing honey to the school.”
Following that theme of education, some students were even given the chance to enter the hive area fully suited up and experience the action up close.
“It’s really just a hands on approach to beekeeping,” Chisel said. “It allows the students on campus to learn about not only the structure of the hive as we’re removing the frames, but also how the honey is formed, how it’s extracted and how to process it into sellable, consumable product.”
Although the hives won’t have enough honey to extract for production for another year, the Hiveminders will not be lying dormant over the winter with their bees; in fact, the club plans on remaining quite busy with documentary nights and lip balm making events. The club hopes to start participating in more community outreach as well.
“What we’re looking for this year is to expand our comfort zone beyond the campus. Really extend a hand out to the community, and educate, integrate and involve local community members as well,” Kolisch said.
In the spring semester, the Washington State Beekeepers Association will be teaching a class on all things bee-related.
“This class is for people who are interested in learning more about bees and possibly beekeeping themselves,” Hiveminders secretary Mariah Seller said. Those who successfully complete the class are given the official title of Apprentice Beekeeper, the first step to becoming a Master Beekeeper, the highest qualification possible in Washington.
Even after a Honey Harvest as successful as this ones, the Hiveminders plan on doing even more in coming years.
“For those that will be here next year, we are planning on gathering even more,” Kolisch said.