For more than eight years, the Center for the Sustainable Environment at Franklin & Marshall College maintained two beehives at Baker Campus without ever extracting its product, but this year, the center harvested the honey produced by the nearly 10,000 bees that inhabit the hives.
“We haven't harvested in the past because the hives have mostly been used for research and education,” said Sarah Dawson, the center’s director. “Now that we have a Pollinator Club, we thought it would be fun to try to get some honey this year and also to make some things from beeswax.”
F&M’s Pollinator Club raises awareness and educates the community about the environmental importance of pollinators such as bees. Juniors Anna Schutt and Hannah Robertson, president and treasurer of the Pollinator Club, work at the Center and helped extensively with the harvesting, Dawson said.
“Depending on how the bees do, we should be able to harvest honey annually,” she said. “This was actually a pretty bad year for bees because they don't fly when it's raining, and it rained all summer. We will feed them throughout the winter to make sure they have plenty of food beyond their remaining honey stores.”
For this first harvest, the bees produced five gallons that filled nearly 100 small bottles of honey that sell at the College’s weekly farmers' market, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays in the Center’s Fair Trade Café on Williamson Way.
How honey is harvested: