The community asked to help the school to produce honey | DeKalb alive

Students studying agriculture at Valley Head High School learn about beekeeping and the products that bees produce. Agriculture teacher Cameron Mitchell said the community can play a role in the project by planting the right kind of flora in their gardens.

It is in the best interest of every community to plant vegetation to attract bees. Albert Einstein said: “If the bee were to disappear from the face of the Earth, man would only have four years to live. Residents of the Valley Head area who wish to participate in the school’s honey bee project can help by sowing plants that attract this valuable insect.

It is known that bees travel up to five miles to find the nectar they desire. The school project is located one mile south of the school. The best choice is vegetation native to northern Alabama, such as yellow poplar (also known as tulip poplar) and various clovers. “Bees love clover,” Mitchell said.

Although native plants are the best choice, it is not necessary to select only native plants, a mixture is perfect as long as some native plants are included. Mitchell suggested planting butterfly bushes, sun flowers, red buds, holly and sour wood. He said the flavor of honey is a direct result of the type of plants the bee feeds on. While soybean and cotton fields are great for bees, the pesticides commonly used on these crops are dangerous for bees. Residents can also help by avoiding the use of pesticides.

Locals can go online to Nectar and Pollen Producing Plants of Alabama: A Guide for Beekeepers www.aces.edu. A printable chart is included with a key listing the names of plants, native regions, flowering months, and plants that donate nectar and pollen.

The students collected and sold honey and now beeswax candles have been added to the product line. Plans are in place to make beeswax stick and to help the public order their own bees. Beeswax is the purest and most natural of all waxes. Beeswax candles clean the air as they burn. Just like lightning, beeswax produces negative ions when heated. Negative ions attach themselves to positive ions like dust, pollen, mold, odors, and toxins that float in the air. Most of the candles on the market are made from paraffin which is chemical based and therefore smokes and releases soot when burnt. “Our candles are made from one hundred percent pure beeswax with only a little essential oil added for aroma,” Mitchell said.

In addition, the students restored a horse trailer from 1987 with the aim of creating a mobile beekeeping laboratory. “It’s perfect for festivals, so we don’t have to set up a booth,” Mitchell said. “I can also use it when I visit elementary schools to teach them all about bees. I bring my literature, microscope and equipment directly to the field when working with bees. Mitchell said the students use the workshop classes to make whatever they need for beekeeping.

The next festival where honey and candles will be sold is scheduled for May 7, 2022 at the Memories of Mayberry Festival in Valley Head.

To learn more about the Valley Head beekeeping program, pick up a copy of DeKalb Living May 2021. To donate to the program, contact the organizers at www.facebook.com/valleyheadffa.

Motto of the beekeepers: “The buzz of the bees is the voice of the garden. – American horticultural writer Elizabeth Lawrence.

– Who’s Who by Marla Ballard appears in the Times-Journal editions on Wednesday.

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