GREENVILLE — Ever wondered what it takes to become a beekeeper, or just how that honey gets from a hive into those cute little bottles? Look no further than GPL.
On Thursday, June 8, 1 p.m., Maddie Mullins from Blue Collar Honey Bees will “bee” sharing her knowledge of all things beekeeping. Registration is not required for this event.
Mullins’ beekeeping journey began three years ago as a 4-H project for her oldest son, Wyatt.
“He applied for a scholarship, and he got that through OSBA (Ohio State Beekeepers Association). Then he did it for a full year and went all the way to State with his 4-H project,” she explained. “I had to find someone to sign his paperwork, that was a beekeeper, so I just Googled somebody in the area and I got ahold of this guy named Dwight Wells. He’s 80-years-old. He was so excited.”
After asking if he could meet them before he signed their form, he came over and everyone hit it off right from the start.
“We just sat down, and he’s like my kids’ grandpa now,” Mullins said with a smile. “He’s really, really been a huge help.”
What started out as one or two hives for Maddie and Wyatt quickly grew to 30 or 35 within the first year. They currently have around 25 hives, with new swarms being added all the time.
“Wyatt is now not so much into the beekeeping. He’ll help carry stuff and process the honey and things like that,” she added. “It’s now me, my mom, and my daughter doing pretty much everything. It’s been quite the adventure.”
As a part of her program, Mullins will be bringing some of the tools and equipment used to extract and gather the honey, which they do twice a year.
“We do it the old-fashioned way. We crank it. Three frames at a time,” she laughed. “It’s a lot, but it’s fun.
“The kids get involved. My family is involved. My mom comes over and helps. Dwight comes over and helps,” Mullins said. “We get random people that’ll be like, ‘Aw! I want to see how you do this,’ and they show up. Neighbors, just whoever. And I don’t care. I’ll show people. It’s not a secret. I’d rather show people so they know how to do it.”
With beekeeping on the rise, Maddie is hopeful for the future of our pollinator friends.
“It’s really coming back. There’s a lot more bees out there than people think. The thing is we have to get the genetics fixed. So that’s what we’re trying to do with the genetic testing.
“My favorite thing is the science-side of it. I never thought that I would be into the science-side of it as much as I am, but we look at things under microscopes. There’s DNA testing being done. It’s way bigger than just backyard bees. The studies we’re involved in go nationwide. It’s pretty neat.”
For more information on Blue Collar Honey Bees, including where they’ll be next, check out their Facebook page. For more information on this free event, call the library at (937) 548-3915 and ask for Rachael Gray.