California State University, Northridge’s CSUN-al Gardening Series will host a free beekeeping workshop.

California State University, Northridge’s CSUN-al Gardening Series will host a free backyard beekeeping workshop with professional beekeeper Keith Roberts, on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The workshop will provide attendees with an expert view of the benefits and risks of keeping bees, along with general information on how to get started in backyard beekeeping.

“Even if a homeowner doesn’t want to host a hive, there are plenty of reasons to welcome honeybees to the garden,” said Brenda Kanno, manager of the CSUN Botanic Garden. “Bountiful fruit production often depends on the industrious pollination actions of honeybees.”

Attendees can expect to learn about keeping bees. Today, one third of our food is dependent on pollination, which can be transferred by the wind, birds or other animals but bees pollinate on a much larger scale. The role of beekeepers is to keep bees in order to collect their honey or hive products including beeswax, flower pollen, bee pollen and royal jelly. These byproducts can be used to pollinate crops or used for consumption.

Roberts’ history of working with bees includes being co-owner of The Valley Hive, which specializes in promoting Urban Beekeeping by providing hobbyists with bees, equipment, training and education. His interest in honey bees began in 2008, after viewing a display of live honey bees and a year later, he founded the Enterprising Bee Company, subsequently creating the Save the Buzz line of honey bee products.

CSUN’s Botanic Gardenis open to the public and run by the College of Science and Mathematics’ biology department. It functions as a field site for botany, entomology, photography, painting and other classes. CSUN professor of Biology, Rachel Mackelprang, who currently has several hives on campus, trains students in her lab on how to maintain beehives.  In addition to geographically themed plantings and a butterfly garden, there are also greenhouses where botanical specimens are grown.

Registration for the class is required for attendance. To request a space in the class or for more information email botanicgarden@csun.edu. Driving and parking instructions, as well as the class meeting location, will be sent upon registration.

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