The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has collaborated with the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture to create a state apiary at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant St., Amherst. The apiary consists of twelve honey bee hives located within an 80 foot by 30 foot plot situated adjacent to the UMass Pollinator Conservation Project. The apiary is surrounded by a solar powered electric fence (to deter animals and serve as a safety barrier for visitors). It consists of six wooden stands (capable of holding five hives each) partitioned into two horizontal rows. The apiary will also be used by the UMass Beekeeping Club and for hives maintained for UMass beekeeping courses.
The purpose of the apiary is to serve as a vessel for education, outreach demonstrations and research related to agricultural sustainability, pollination, honey bee health and hive management. This apiary is also considered to be a critical component of the Stockbridge School’s student farm pollinator habitat conservation project. The apiary will provide valuable pollination services to the farms cultivated acreage of crops, trees and wildflowers. Given the ability to do live, in-hive demonstrations onsite, this apiary will also be an important tool for providing outreach education to farmers, land managers, beekeepers and the public on topics related to honey bees and agriculture. The apiary will be maintained through a collaborative effort of the MDAR Apiary Program inspectors, students and faculty members on campus.
For more on the State Apiary, see:
The Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers a Practical Beekeeping class each spring for students in the Sustainable Food and Farming major.