Alpharetta recognizes Bees Needs volunteers

Credit: custom

Credit: custom

The Alpharetta Community Agriculture Program has been working alongside Innovation Academy STEM High School on a honeybee foraging and pollen identification project at Old Rucker Farm.

Using Radio Frequency Identification, known as RFID technology, attached to a single hive, and micro tags attached to numerous honeybee workers, the students will collect data. Students hope to track the bees time spent inside the hive and outside foraging during different seasons, DNA test pollen taken from bees to study the types of plants they visit, and identify potential pathogens and bacteria the bees bring to the hive that could cause disease or death to the colony.

To assist students in this project, the school needed two RFID systems costing $3,200 each. The first system was funded through the annual operating budget for the city’s community agriculture program.

Unable to fund the second system, Innovation Academy implemented a fundraising initiative and the city helped get the word out. Thanks to generous donations from the public, $1,125 was raised to help in the purchase of the second RFID system. To thank community members who donated to the Bees Needs fundraiser, the Alpharetta City Council recently presented each community member with a special certificate of recognition.

Results from the honeybee study will benefit students with their microbiology curriculum as well as the Alpharetta community in identifying and cultivating plant species that will be more appealing and beneficial to honeybees, reducing their foraging time and distance, and aiding in their production of honey and survival.