bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bees attracted by smoking's decline

With the decline in North Carolina's (USA) managed bee population from 180,000 to 100,000 hives in the past twenty years (not to mention the feral colonies lost to varroa), and as farmers move from tobacco to crops that need bee pollination, a plan is afoot.

North Carolina State University is providing 250 qualified applicants with two hives of Russian honey bees and bee hives. Participants have to invest $50 to $150 for beekeeper protective clothing, smokers and additional hive equipment.
The one-year program is being funded with a $164,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, which administers money received by North Carolina from its settlement with cigarette manufacturers. Applicants from traditional tobacco-growing areas will get priority for funding.
Already there have been about 600 applications and beekeeping course organizers report that their enrollment has increased dramatically since the programme was announced.



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