Beekeeping and honey production activities started at the farm in the spring of 2011. These activities are expanding and enhancing the Farm Food Program while providing new educational opportunities for faculty and students.
Another benefit of beekeeping is to increase insect pollination (the transfer of pollen from one flower to another flower). It increases both the size and quality of individual plants and the crop yield as a whole for the farm's food-producing crops. Honeybees are important pollinators because they can be easily managed and moved to crop sites and typically one colony is used for each acre of land.
In 2012, beekeeping and honey production activities at the farm expanded the research and teaching opportunities in the areas of entomology, animal behavior and food production techniques. For over 6 years, Richard Manley, Cuyahoga County Beehives Inspector and Farm beekeeper consultant, offered a beekeeping class over three Saturdays in September, February, April and June as part of the continuing education program. The classes make use of the A. I. Root Apiary and the Honey House.
Dadant & Sons, Inc., a staple in the beekeeping community for generations, recently sponsored the Farm's program through in-kind donations. Such contributions help this program to continue to grow and to offer greater educational opportunities to CWRU staff, students, and the community at large.
In spring 2013, the A.I. Root (rootcandles.com), originally a beekeeping company that is now known for its beeswax candles, funded the installation of the A.I. Root Observational Apiary and Pollinator Garden. A 60 foot wall with a viewing screen encloses eight honeybee hives surrounded by a field of clover and a pollinator garden, allowing visitors and classes to watch honeybee activity from a safe distance. An ADA approved door and sidewalk lead directly from the Honey House up to and along the viewing wall, making this new addition to the Farm open and accessible to all. This new site was officially unveiled on May 11, 2013, at the 3rd Annual Honeybee Conference and Field Day of the Greater Cleveland Beekeeping Association.
Since 2015, on the third Saturday of May, the Geauga County Beekeepers Association offers a Spring Field at the Farm. Participants learned about installing bee packages, hives inspection, making a split, raising queens among many other topics in beekeeping.
To learn more, contact the Farm Office, Patty Gregory at 216.368.0274 and ask for Dr. Ana Locci, Farm Director.