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Local beekeepers form group to share, learn

A worker bee sips from honey exposed by damage to the wax comb. Local beekeepers are looking to form a club to share their knowledge.

Photo by Keri Collins Lewis/MSU Extension Service

By Jebb Johnston

jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

Some local beekeepers are forming a hive.

With interest in beekeeping on the rise, Corinth area enthusiasts are looking to form a club to share their experiences and learn from each other. An organizational meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Alcorn County Career and Technology Center.

"It seems like people are realizing the importance of bees and our pollinators," said Mississippi State University Extension Agent Patrick Poindexter, who is helping the group get organized. "I'm thrilled to see that increase with the number of folks interested in it."

One of the organizers, Brian McCullen, said he became interested because of the pollination benefits for gardening. There is a lot to learn, he said, such as not to expect to get any honey from a first-year hive.

"We just want this to be a group where we can meet and talk about what's going on in everybody's hives," he said.

Other organizers are Lane Bell, Russ Elam and Lynn Wood. Some had been attending another club's meetings in Savannah before deciding to launch a club in Alcorn County, said Bell.

While many people's first thought regarding bees is honey, they have a much larger role.

"Without them and other pollinators in nature, our vegetables would not set fruit," said Poindexter. "They play a very integral part in the whole food production process."

The club could serve as a good starting point for those looking to raise honeybees.

"It's not one of those things that you can just go buy a box of bees and you're done," said Poindexter. "There are a lot of management steps that go along with that, and knowing the biology and physiology of the bees, knowing what they need, and figuring out where they fit into your operation."

Media attention to things such as colony collapse disorder may be fueling some new interest in working with bees. Poindexter is aware of a dozen or more locals who have hives for their gardens and honey production, and he believes their knowledge can help the club do well.

"It's a good opportunity," said Poindexter. "You're bringing people together of like minds, and they can share stories and ideas, and it'll be a learning process for everybody."