BRYAN, Texas – More than 300 honey bee keepers and bee enthusiasts statewide descended upon the John G. and Janice Thomas Honey Bee Facility on June 7 for the annual Texas Beekeepers Association’s Summer Clinic.
Held every summer, the clinic allows bee keepers, gardeners, and honey bee enthusiasts to come together to learn about the latest research and the latest techniques and tips from experts from the Dr. Juliana Rangel Lab, members of the Texas Apiary Inspection Service and other presenters.
Since this summer’s clinic was the first time that it had been held at the facility at Texas A&M University’s Riverside Campus, visitors got the chance to view the facility during several morning tours conducted by members of Dr. Juliana Rangel’s lab and speak to other beekeepers and Texas Beekeepers Association members at a tent set up outside.
After the morning tours, Dr. Vaughan Bryant from the Department of Anthropology gave the plenary presentation titled “Pollen in Honey” and spoke on his research to the crowd.
After lunch, there were several different activities that attendees could choose from during the afternoon, including updates from Rangel from the Honey Bee Lab and Mark Dykes spoke about the Texas Apiary Inspection Service and what it can do for the beekeeping industry. In addition, several of the lab members and other researchers spoke on topics such as pheromones, the effects of brood pheromones on foraging and drone reproductive health.
The highlights of the clinic included demonstrations by apiary technician E.T. Ash on honey extraction and a hands-on live hive demonstration by apiary inspector Bill Baxter on the proper way to inspect hives.
Other activities included presentation on how to plant the right plants to attract bees by Becky Bender and Michael Parkey, the do’s and don’ts of marketing honey by John Hicks, and Top Bar Hives by Dean Cook.
Rangel was impressed by the turnout and said that holding this event helps to raise awareness about the center and what it can do for beekeepers.
“This is a chance for beekeepers for all levels to see the facility for the first time and hear and see our research that is conducted by our lab,” she said. “This is also a great time for them to visit with us and the apiary inspection service.”
“This is wonderful and it’s nice to see the building,” said Texas Beekeepers Association president Blake Shook. “It’s really a nice and we are grateful for A&M for helping us out with our industry and helping us to address the problems and challenges we are facing today.”
Dykes was also thrilled about the turnout and said that clinics like this one are helpful for beekeepers to learn the latest trends in industry and honey bee research.
“Clinics like the one we’re holding today are very important to the beekeeping community,” he said. “They provide a good platform to distribute information to the beekeepers and provide a place of fellowship to the beekeepers of the state.”