School lesson: Bees not for the birds
Posted: October 12, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Danielle Dale has left her eight hives at home for the past 80 days to teach students across the country about the brilliance of bees.
Dale, 20 — the 2012 American Beekeeping Federation Honey Princess — visited James Wood High School on Thursday as part of her nationwide tour to espouse the virtues of honeybees and their sweet product.
“You know, these are wonderful insects,” Dale said. “They do so much for us.”
According to Dale, about 100 crops nationwide are pollinated by honeybees.
One-third of the food supply is pollinated by insects, and honeybees accomplish 80 percent of that pollination.
“If we didn’t have honeybees, we’d have to give up one meal a day for the rest of our lives,” Dale said.
It was a fact that didn’t get past senior Aliza Bennett.
“I didn’t realize how much we relied on them,” she said.
Dale also told classes that the bees make 300 types of honey, which she said is a great anti-bacterial agent and the only food in the world that never spoils.
Honeybees also make an average of one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime, and one hive produces about 60 pounds of honey a year.
Dale ended her day at James Wood with a demonstration of how to make honey punch: a mixture of cranberry juice, ginger ale, lemon juice, water and orange juice.
And, of course, 11⁄2 cups of honey.
While some students thought it tasted too sweet or like tomato juice, senior Erica Hepner enjoyed the tangy drink.
“It’s really good,” she said, adding, “I learned a whole bunch. I had no idea there was a honey princess.”
Dale, who is from Wisconsin, has been a beekeeper since she was 12. She is a sophomore at Western Technical College in Wisconsin, where she is pursuing an associate’s degree.
She took a year off on scholarship to do her nationwide pollination education tour, but plans to seek a bachelor’s degree in communications or marketing at a four-year university when she’s done.
A national honey queen and honey princess are chosen each year from state winners.
“It’s been an awesome experience for me,” she said. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Winchester is the last stop on Dale’s tour before she returns home for three days and then heads back out on the road.
The Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah are offering a Youth Beekeeping Scholarship Program to a male and female ages 13 to 18 in Winchester and Clarke, Frederick and Warren counties. Upon completion of the program, the recipient will get their own bee colony and equipment.
For more information, go to valleybees.org.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org