The bee’s knees: Campus keepers reap sweet rewards with harvest

UW-Green Bay student beekeepersA contingent of UW-Green Bay student beekeepers got to taste the fruits of their labor July 29, harvesting honey from two new hives located near the campus Heating and Cooling Plant Building.

The project is up and running thanks to a new student organization, the GBees, with the hives and their tenants arriving on campus this spring. The student-funded club aims to promote the environmental, biodiversity and local food aspects of beekeeping while drawing attention to the negative implications of declining honeybee numbers across the globe.

The students have gotten a hand in their endeavors from Bill Ahnen, a UW-Green Bay electrician who’s been a beekeeper for about seven years. On July 29, Ahnen took them through the harvest process, which involves removing the honeycomb, scraping off the wax covering on one side of the frame and placing it in an extractor. This centrifuge spins the honey out of the comb before the other side is scraped and extracted. The empty combs are then returned to the hive for the bees to refill.

Led by Ahnen, the student group extracted honey from 20 frames during the harvest, collecting approximately 50 pounds of honey. The beekeepers eventually hope to be able to sell their honey, perhaps alongside the University’s SLO Food Alliance during its summer vegetable sales. For now, it’s providing some industrious students a very sweet reward for their time.

— Photos by Eric Miller, Office of Marketing and University Communication

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