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Bryant Glover reached into a strainer, pulled out wax scrapings covered with honey and passed them around.
Each fragment was dripping with sweet honey from honey bee hives at Beddingfield High School.
Glover is the agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America adviser at the school.
On Wednesday, Glover and Tommy Batts, the commercial horticulture agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Wilson County, donned protective suits to gingerly remove honey-laden frames from a “super” from within a hive behind the school.
This is the third year Glover has extracted honey from the hives at the school.
“We actually sell the honey here at the school to put it back into out program,” Glover said. “Obviously we have limited supply, but we have always sold out.”
The brand is called Bee Bruin, a play off the school’s motto, Be Bruin, Glover said.
Right now, the school has a big hive and a smaller hive that was caught.
“A student reached out to me and said, ‘We’ve got a swarm at my granddaddy’s house. Do you want to come get it?’” Glover said. “So Tommy and I actually went and got it and started it, and they are actually thriving.”
The capture process went fairly well, with Glover being stung just once.
“It was my first swarm catch,” Glover said. “We went during my planning period one day and picked them up. We were able to drop them down into a box and relocate them, and they are thriving. We have actually added a second super to it, and they are expanding up into it.”
The wild hive was off U.S. 117 about five to 10 minutes from the school.
Glover didn’t take students because he didn’t have enough suits for them. “Tommy and I went and met the parent of the child, and she pointed it out to us and we brought it back.”
“I have helped my father-in-law catch a swarm or two,” Batts said. “It was pretty simple. You just open up the top of the box, cut the branch, kind of shake it right in the box, and they fall in the box.”
On Wednesday, the frames were brought back inside the school where the waxy caps were cut off the honeycomb. They were placed in a new extractor that uses centrifugal force to extract the honey from the comb.
“We try and educate the horticulture students as well as the animal science students that most plants need pollination to reproduce,” Glover said. “These bees are actually going out and pollinating the plants and bringing back the pollen to create the honey that’s also thriving off the larvae and off the colony itself.”
One of Glover’s students, Grayson Howell of Stantonsburg, was awarded a Wilson County Farm Bureau grant to establish the student as a beginner beekeeper. Grayson received a hive and bees and everything he needed to get started in beekeeping.
“He is very interested in it, and he was able to start his bee apiary at his house with this grant,” Glover said.
Howell wants to go to N.C. State and be an agriculture teacher.
Batts said Glover has a strong program at Beddingfield.
“I think Bryant is doing a good job with these, and I think it is a good experience for the kids to see,” Batts said. “In a county like Wilson where we grow a wide variety of a lot of different crops, honeybees play a very important role in getting those end products. Without them we wouldn’t have cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelons, a lot of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy we would not be able to have. It is very helpful to our farmers. They are able to use the honeybees that are there to help pollinate their crop so that they can then sell it at the end of the season. So it’s not just for us, because it tastes good. It is also for the economic value of it.”
Last Year, Batts helpd establish the Wilson County Beekeepers Association, which now has about 40 members.
Batts said the honeybees play a vital role.
“It is good to see that bridge and to see the students interact with them,” Batts said.
To purchase honey, call Beddingfield High School at 252-399-7880.