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Local beekeeper gives Lebanon Noon Rotary Club the buzz

Jacob Smith • Sep 19, 2017 at 5:03 PM

Jessica Dodds, a local beekeeper and founder of Honeybee TN, spoke to the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club on Tuesday about the importance of educating children on bees’ role in the ecosystem.

Dodds began working with honeybees in 2014 with two hives. She currently cultivates 10 hives.

The purpose of Dodd’s presentation Tuesday was to tell the Rotary Club about the importance of bees and encourage members to support education about the insects within local schools.

“I’ve been beekeeping about five years and selling my honey,” said Dodd. “The education wasn’t there. People had so many questions and kept asking me, but what really bothered me is that kids didn’t know.”

After coming to the revelation children didn’t know as much about the ecosystem and the role that bees play, Dodd decided to be the one to teach them.

“We’re so focused on test scores and everything, but there’s a whole part of education that can be fun and exciting,” said Dodd. “I thought, ‘I’m going to teach them.’ Why not?”

It was this idea that led her to found the nonprofit, Honeybee TN.

“Honeybee TN’s mission is to educate the communities on the importance of honeybees, the role that they play in our environment and agriculture,” said Dodd. “One of our biggest goals and missions right now is to get bee programs in high schools throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Dodd went on to explain the importance of the role honeybees play in the community in pollinating flowers and making honey.

“We all know bees pollinate, but what does that mean, though? Like, we know what pollinate means, but do you reallyknow what it means?” said Dodd. “Look at your plate and stop and think; one out of three foods you eat is pollinated by a honeybee.”

According to Dodd, chemicals such as Sevin Dust can be threatening to the bee population.

“Sevin Dust mimics pollen,” said Dodd. “So when you sprinkle Sevin Dust on all these tomato blooms and squash blooms, that Sevin Dust mimics pollen. That Sevin Dust is taken back and fed to the larva and kills off colonies. So I would recommend finding an alternative way than using Sevin Dust in gardens.”

Dodd closed her presentation by talking about what could be done to help the bee population and to educate people on the flying insects’ importance.

“I want to get more high school programs involved through the FFA; I want to get more hives in high schools; I want to get kids involved. They’re the next generation. If we don’t teach them the importance of beekeeping and why we need the honeybee, we’re all screwed,” said Dodd. “If you don’t want to be a beekeeper, you can also plant things that help the bees, that the bees love to pollinate, so they have a source of food.”

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