Beekeeper holding a honey board

Show Me The Honey

Cal Poly Pomona faculty want more students to learn the art of beekeeping. And if the public learns, too, that's even better.

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“Beekeeping is an art; we should all be doing it,” says Mark Haag, a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Agriculture and founder of the campus’s new apiary program, which debuted in fall 2018. “It’s doable. It’s safe. It’s important, no matter where you are.”

The dedicated 1.5-acre meadow on Cal Poly Pomona’s campus is now chest-high in wildflowers that provide forage—aka bee food—for the 31 hives. This field acts as a living lab for Haag’s bee science class, which he co-teaches with Cal Poly colleague and lecturer Melody Wallace, DVM. (Haag also offers public workshops on campus for local beekeepers.)

Haag’s goal is nothing less than creating a world-renowned bee program at Cal Poly Pomona. To that end, he has begun bee research—a first for CPP—on mites that hurt the insects’ health and is also researching ways to raise non-Africanized queen bees for smaller beekeepers in Southern California during the winter months. (Local beekeepers often have difficulty procuring a queen with the desired docile Italian honeybee genetics within the ideal time window, which is winter and early spring.)

Thanks to the temperate climate in the southern part of the state, honeybees are active year-round. And with many cities lifting bans on urban beekeeping, the need for teaching the public continues to grow.  

If you have a hive or simply want to attract more bees to your yard, here are some options planted by CPP students for bee forage:

  • Bee balm
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Purple coneflowers
  • Dianthus
  • Hummingbird mint
  • Lavender
  • Sea lavender
  • Shasta daisies

HOW SWEET IT IS!

Several CSU campuses make their own honey from on-campus bee hives. From left: Sacramento State's Hornet Honey; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; CSUN's Bee a Matador Wildflower Honey; and Cal Poly Pomona's Hey There, Honey. (Not pictured: CSU Channel Islands)

Several CSU campuses make their own honey from on-campus bee hives. From left: Sacramento State's Hornet Honey; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; CSUN's Bee a Matador Wildflower Honey; and Cal Poly Pomona's Hey There, Honey. (Not pictured: CSU Channel Islands)


THE BUZZ AROUND THE CSU


 
Honey Boards with bees

BEE-ING NUMBER ONE

Since spring 2018, CSU Channel Islands has offered an apiculture and bee biology course with about 15 on-campus hives. CSUCI is the first four-year college in California to be named a Bee Campus USA by the Xerces Society.

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Beekeeper holding Honey Board

INSIDE THE BELLY OF THE BEE

At CSUN, microbial ecologist and genomicist Rachel Mackelprang, Ph.D., is teaching a bee biology class that studies the insects’ gut microbiome to learn about bee health.

LEARN ABOUT CSUN
 
Close up of a bee

WATCH OUT FOR ZOM-BEES

San Francisco State biology professor John Hafernik, Ph.D., discovered a phenomenon that turns bees into “zombies” when they’re infected by a fly parasite.

LEARN ABOUT SFSU
 

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