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COA Spotlights Spring 2020 Beekeeping Course

Edenton — College of The Albemarle’s (COA) Edenton-Chowan Campus offered its first continuing education class in Beekeeping in the spring of 2019. In cooperation with the Beekeepers of Chowan County, the course offered a basic understanding of what is required to become a successful beekeeper.

In the fall of 2018, the Beekeepers of Chowan County approached COA about offering a course for the novice beekeeper. The Beekeeping industry is on the rise and the college agreed that the special interest class could be a great opportunity for community members to get involved. Chef Leslie Lippincott, Assistant Professor/Program Coordinator for the Culinary Arts program, shared that she, along with Julie Murphy and Elizabeth Towe, members of the Beekeepers of Chowan County, participated in the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Edenton to gain interest in the class. “We decided to promote the course by making honey cake and cider with honey. As we were at the table, we noticed that our honey infused items were attracting bees; eventually we had to move our table across the street from the other vendors,” Chef Lippincott said.

Their efforts at the event proved successful as 17 people signed up to receive additional information on the class, with 15 enrolling in the course that began in January 2019. A beehive box was placed in a corner of the campus near the greenhouse used by the Culinary Arts program and once the course had ended, Chef Lippincott served as the main beekeeper throughout the summer months.

Chef Lippincott explained that bees producing honey in their first year is almost unheard of, however the hives at COA yielded 4 1/2 gallons in its first pull. Each worker bee can produce up to 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey and a hive contains 60,000 to 70,000 bees. The bees were shipped in from Georgia and the Beekeepers of Chowan County were instrumental in receiving town approval to house the bees on campus.

Chef Lippincott shared that there could be expansion of the hives moving forward. “My goal is to plant a garden for next spring with the types of plants the bees really like and then they will not have to travel so far for pollination.” She also explained that the college participates in natural beekeeping, free from the use of pesticides.

The upcoming “Introduction to Beekeeping” course will begin Jan. 14, 2020 at the Edenton-Chowan Campus, presented in cooperation with the Beekeepers of Chowan County. For more information, email beekeepersofchowancounty2017@gmail.com. To register, please call 252-335-0821 ext. 2250.