And now for something completely different....Kalamazoo Valley Community College is offering a non-credit course in Beekeeping.

Photo: Kalamazoo Bee Club. Credit: Sheldon Schwitek. Used by permission.

Beekeeping 101 is being offered on Tuesday evenings from Sept. 6 to October 25 at the Food Innovation Center, 224 E. Crosstown Parkway, Kalamazoo. The course, which is open to the public, is about providing fundamental knowledge about honey bees and apiary management for beginning beekeepers and those who are interested in beekeeping.

Participants will learn about basic bee biology, beekeeping requirements and how to set up an apiary. They’ll also study start-up hive management techniques with the goal of being able to start their own apiaries.

In a release, KVCC says "at the end of the course, students will understand: bee botany, queen evaluations and replacement, queen rearing, swarm management and prevention, hive products, and honey harvesting and handling.

'The class will be taught by local beekeeping experts Sheldon Schwitek, Lawrence John Connor, PhD, Charlotte Hubbard, and Shaana Way.

'Rachel Bair, Director of Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems for Kalamazoo Valley, said there is an active beekeeping community in Kalamazoo and interest continues to grow. She expects the class to fill up quickly.

'Earlier this summer, an apiary containing five honey bee hives was installed at the Food Innovation Center. The bees are helping to pollinate the center’s vegetable crops and their honey will be harvested in the fall for use in the culinary training kitchen.

Weather permitting, there will be hands-on lessons in the apiary during each session. Students will need personal protective equipment (PPE)—minimally a beekeeping veil and closed-toe, sturdy shoes, long-sleeves, and long pants with socks. Students may desire to obtain and wear additional PPE such as a beekeeping jacket or a full suit with gloves." .

There is a $140 fee to participate in the 8-week course. To register, call 269.353.1253 or go to www.kvcc.edu/trainingschedule.