Allegheny County Home to First Community Apiary
Posted: January 6, 2012
In 2010, Burgh Bees a Pennsylvania non-profit organization, formally partnered with Penn State Extension of Allegheny County, to further the educational arm of Penn State Extension and strengthen the mission of Burgh Bees. As a direct result of this partnership, each year over 90 people enroll in Beekeeping 101 & 102 classes designed to prepare individuals to establish a hive and care for it the first two years. To date, over 250 individuals in the Pittsburgh area have taken these classes.
Spring of 2010, marked the first visible signs of a community apiary with the erection of a 6 foot high privacy fence on a vacant lot on Susquehanna Street in Homewood. After two years of hard work by volunteers, the site is home for 20 beehives. The apiary hosts hands-on beekeeping classes for Burgh Bees members and tours for school groups and community organizations.
In 2011, Burgh Bees initiated involvement in a multi-state research project to determine if chemical pesticides have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall decline of honey bees and other pollinators. Steve Repasky, a Burgh Bees director, sent monthly samples of pollen and beeswax to Maryann Frazier in the Penn State University Entomology Department for pesticide analysis. The research project hopes to make homeowners aware of the role they play in contributing to the growing accumulation of pesticides in our environment and the potential negative consequences for pollinators.
Future plans for the partnership include a second community apiary in the Pittsburgh area. For more information on beekeeping activities in Pittsburgh or to register for upcoming classes: http://burghbees.com