|Steven Bernard, owner, shows and tells about his honey bee business|
|Participants explore bee hives|
|Bee yard demonstration|
Baton Rouge, La. – More than 30 current and budding honey bee enthusiasts from diverse Louisiana parishes convened at the Breaux Bridge Extension Office on October 16 to learn about the challenges and opportunities in honey bee-keeping. The goal of the training was to mitigate against recent bee loss in the state. The discussions centered on colony collapse disorder, mites, pesticides, management, seed treatment and diseases. Sebe Brown, LSU area agent taught on the topic of pollinator protection. Following the presentation, participants traveled to Bernard’s Apiaries for bee yard live demonstration and honey facility operation tour led by Steven Bernard, owner. This was followed by a panel discussion by LSU entomologist/assistant professor, Kristen Healy; LSU extension entomologist, Dennis Ring; and Allen Fabre, Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry.
Some suggested solutions included seed treatment with neonicotinoids and effective communication with all partners involved in spraying cultivated fields with chemicals that may impact the lives of bees.
One participants stated, “This training really opened my eyes to the relationship between bees and farming. Bees are not just for honey production but also for crop pollination. I never thought of honey bees in that way before.”
All trainees received resource information on bees, wasps, and other stinging creatures. Two potential bee keepers won starter kits as door prices and parting gifts.
The training was coordinated by DeLane Ross, SU Ag Center extension agent, St. Martin and Iberia Parishes, and sponsored by LSU AgCenter and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE). Also from the SU Ag Center, Mila Berhane, senior research associate coordinated the SARE funding and participated in the training alongside Stephanie Elwood, extension associate.