Sac State’s bees are back in business, and a new crop of honey is the sweet result
August 02, 2023
Bees are doing their thing after a two-year interruption, putting Sac State Sustainability back in the honey business and making Hornet Honey available once more.
Environmental effects of wildfire smoke in 2021 and 2022 interrupted bee swarms and honey production in the nine hives kept by the Sustainability program, five at the Capital Public Radio Garden and four in the nearby Bioconversion and Agricultural Collaborative (BAC Yard). Both are on the south end of campus.
Good conditions returned this year, and with them swarms of contented bees – and their honey. Sustainability staff and students, working in Mariposa Hall, where the hives were transported, extracted honeycombs from the hives and honey from the honeycombs on July 21.
President Luke Wood and his family were among those observing the work, which included using bee smoker to calm the insects and interfere with their sense of smell and ability to communicate – lessening the chances they would sting.
Laura Gonzalez-Ospina, Waste and Sustainability coordinator, was happy about the opportunity.
“I’ve been taking care of the bees for almost two years and finally get to experience extraction,” she said.
Ryan Todd, director of Energy and Sustainability, said the beekeeping program began as a small answer to the global decline in pollinators and represents a hands-on educational opportunity.
CapRadio’s garden, which annually produces significant amounts of fruit and vegetables, is a fine fit for the program, he added.
“Having beehives in the garden is great for the garden, and having the bees at the garden is great for the bees,” Todd said.
Environmental Studies major Karina Cruz works as a Sustainability student assistant, focusing on waste management. She was among several student assistants who cut honey from the honeycombs.
“It's my first time, and I was a little nervous, but it's so much fun,” she said. “I love seeing the bees and actually looking at their product.” She said that it’s easy to take honey on store shelves for granted and not consider how it was obtained.
This year’s extraction produced about 130 pounds of honey, which filled 230 8-ounce jars. The honey can be purchased for $12 per jar through the Sustainability webpage.
“We sell the jars of honey, and that money goes back into the beekeeping program, and we don’t really look at it as like a profit-generating thing,” Todd said. “It's really just money that helps keep the program going, (and helps us) get new bees if we need to.”
Looking for a Faculty Expert?
Contact University Communications