Students at the HFM Career and Technical Center learned about the importance of honey bees to agriculture and the economy during a recent visit by two local beekeepers.
On Friday, Nov. 19, local beekeepers Kathryn Gulick and Jeff Fagan explained their work with honey bees to juniors in the Environmental Conservation program. Students in the Culinary Arts program also participated in the discussion remotely.
Both members of the Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association, Fagan and Gulick have each been beekeepers for several years. Fagan said he started keeping bees in 2015. A Mayfield graduate, Fagan completed the Environmental Conservation program at the Career and Technical Center in 2004 and has been working in the HFM Operations and Maintenance Department for more than 15 years. Gulick has been keeping bees for about seven years and operates Gough Farm in Johnstown.
The two discussed the honey making process, common mistakes beginning beekeepers make, beekeeping equipment, the role of bees in pollination, pests, diseases and the decline of honey bees in recent years due to “colony collapse disorder.”
Classified as livestock/food producing animals by the American Veterinary Medical Association, honey bees not only produce honey, wax and other products but they play a vital part in the production of a wide variety of other agricultural products. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees.