FAIRMONT, W.Va. – East Fairmont High School is the home of the bees figuratively and literally.
The school’s bee keeping club has three honeybee hives on campus to observe. The bees were donated by Say Boy’ s Restaurant, the Rustic Lane Apiary and the Monongalia County Beekeeper’s Association. The association wants to get younger people involved to continue the knowledge of the importance of bees.
“They are one of our greatest pollinators, so they help with all of our farm and our produce to make sure that we have food for our planet,” Jaime Ford, EFHS science teacher and bee club advisor, said.
“By teaching the kids how important bees are for the community and people just in general they understand that we need more beekeepers,” Debbie Martin, a member of the Monongalia County Bee Association, said.
Students and staff had to advocate for their club to get these bees on campus with the board of education, and they feel the fight was worth it.
“I think it’s a great educational resource,” said Maddie Alex, an EFHS student and beekeeper. “Nowhere else in the state has something like this and it’s something I know I enjoy, and I know nothing about.”
Every Wednesday after school, the club members come to the apiary to check on the queen and see if they have any new larva. They are also conducting research in the club by adding different sensors in the hives to monitor.
Additionally, they are doing different experiments with the hives.
“Traditionally the hives are turned so that the short end is towards the front, but we’ve turned on of them 90 degrees to see how it affects the temperature regulation in the hives,” said Cody Blosser, an EFHS student and beekeeper.
Through all their tests and experiments, they hope to find something for the betterment of the bees.
The club is a way for many students to see if they enjoy this type of work, possibly for a career later in life.
“The younger we get them interested the sooner they’ll become more inclined to get into beekeeping and hopefully carry on the tradition,” Ford said.
“I’m one that like to share my hobbies with others so being able to bring this to the school so that everyone can see, it’s something I’ve wanted well ever since we joined,” Blossom said.
The club members had to build the apiary that houses the hives by themselves, which required donations from the East Fairmont Foundation and the Fairmont Rotary Club. The club members want to encourage others to join beekeeping and to get their own hives even if they’re intimidated by the bees.
“Once you get over the publicity or the negative connotation the bees have, they’re really not that bad,” Blossom said.
“Don’t be afraid to do something because you’re scared. Inexperience is your greatest teacher and it’s truly something you’ll never forget,” Alex said.
Eventually, the club members hope to get their bees working enough so that they can gather enough honey and bee wax to sell. They also hope to make more queen bees to expand their colonies and to help local farmers.