Community helps local 4-H student care for backyard bee hives
CHILLICOTHE— Haley Laughlin proves that it takes a colony to care for bees, recruiting family and neighbors to help her learn the art of beekeeping.
Jacob Shuman, a Ross County native, set up a beekeeping scholarship for Ross County students that would help young beekeepers get started. Haley applied for the scholarship, hoping to overcome her fear.
"I had no interest in bees at all. Bees freaked me out. I was so scared of them. But then I decided to [apply for the scholarship] just for the fun of it," Haley said. "Then I did get the scholarship and it was honestly an honor because it gave me everything I needed to start and save the environment."
The scholarship gave her everything she needed to start backyard beekeeping, including the hive, 10,000 bees, starting supplies and a class to learn how to care for the insects. After learning about the bees and caring for them, she can now comfortably coexist with insects.
Since taking on the bees, she has received help from across the community to continue her project.
Her parents, Tammy and Pat, knew nothing about beekeeping when their daughter started the project. Now, they are just as excited to learn and care for the backyard hives. Pat described the project as a family affair. Tammy has even transported bees in the backseat of her car.
They help her care for her two hives, named Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. They plan to maintain the hive once Haley moves away for school.
A local beekeeper, George Cooke, donated supplies and an entire hive to Haley when he was working on downsizing. Tammy said there is "a lot of support" in the community for young beekeepers.
Haley said she is also a member of the Scioto Valley Beekeepers Association Facebook group where members can post questions and get quick answers and support from the community. She said members are supportive and can answer any question.
With the help of the community, Haley said she has learned how to smoke the bees, protect the queen, collect and process honey and more. She hopes to sell her stash of honey in the near future.
Megan Becker is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. Call her at 740-349-1106, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @BeckerReporting.