NJ is all abuzz about bees

March 20, 2008 3:51:07 PM PDT
New Jersey is trying to create some buzz about bees by teaching.Next month, through Rutgers University, the Agriculture Department is offering what they call a bee-ginners beekeeping class in Burlington County.

Veteran beekeeper Bob Hughes of Hamilton will be teaching the class.

"We try to teach the public and the new prospective beekeepers that it's a great hobby; it's a lot of fun," Hughes said.

The class will cover the soup to nuts of beekeeping.

"We talk about the bees themselves, the different types of bees within the colony; we talk about building colonies," Hughes said.

The state will offer $300 worth of bee gear to get folks who complete the class going, including starter bees, boxes, protective gear and smokers, which keep the bees calm.

Not only will the new beekeepers get the gear, they'll also get help from bee experts who'll visit their hives to offer technical advice.

"We need beekeepers in order to make sure we have our crops pollinated because $200 million of our crops depend on honeybees for pollination," New Jersey agricultural secretary Charles Kuperus said.

Increasing the number of bees is a priority after problems with mites and the mysterious colony collapse disorder has decimated the bee population.

Last summer, Bob Hughes showed Action News that he almost a half million bees.

Thankfully, Bob's current colonies are doing well and he hopes that his upcoming class can generate enough buzz to get more people interested in keeping bees.