East Texas teens learn ins and outs of beekeeping

Updated: Apr. 24, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Pineywoods Beekeepers Association hosted its second session of the 2021 Bee School Saturday. It was a chance for people to learn how to bee keep. The organization also selects teens to be part of the youth program to get them involved.

“I’ve always watched bee documentaries about beekeeping,” said 18-year-old Emma Bazley. “I was always interested because it was really cool.”

A swarm of bees may intimidate some, but for others, it brings excitement. For Bazley, she said she’s been around nature all her life, with gardens and fruit trees.

“I was talking to my friend a while ago,” Bazley recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh I would be interested in doing this. ’He was like, ‘Oh I do too. It’s really cool but like it’s expensive. You’re going to need a lot of equipment.’ But thankfully, we got into the youth program here for free. It’s super nice. It is a great opportunity.”

Emma is one of four selected to the annual Youth Program at the Pineywoods Beekeepers Association (PBA), which takes applications from 12-to 19-year-olds.

“They get a small hive of bees to begin with, the woolen wear, the hive to put the bees in,” explained Program Coordinator Rachel Payne. “They get the jacket, hive tools, smoker, and they get a mentor for a year, and the PBA covers the cost of all of that.”

Payne said this year, Texas Bee Supply donated equipment for the four in the Youth Program. That program runs in conjunction with the annual Bee School, which is open to all adults.

“There’s a lot of stuff, so we have to condense it some,” Payne said. “So, it’s kind of a crash course. We try to get you the information you need to survive your first year.”

Abby, Emma’s sister, who is also in this year’s Youth Program, got her interest from working with Payne extracting honey and learning about the importance of bees like with pollen.

“It helps the environment,” Abby said. “There’s not too many bees in the world. They’ve gone down in population a lot. I have a lot of fruit trees in my yard and a garden, and they’ll help with that.”

“The kids are our future,” Payne said. “We try to get them interested and remove the obstacles, like costs, of getting them started in bees.”

Next Saturday, the four students in the youth program will go to a bee yard and into a beehive.

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