GV Beekeepers Club hosts annual honey extraction event


GVL / Sara Collins

Sara Collins, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State Univerity’s Beekeeper Club hosted their annual honey extraction event this past Friday afternoon in the communal area of the Frederick Meijer’s honor college. The event was led by the club’s officers and attended by several members of the club, both new and returning. 

The event takes place once a year in an effort to ensure the honey from GVSU’s six hives is separated and stored properly. After this process is completed, the bee club bottles up the honey to then sell in November and December. 

The extraction process begins when the hives are brought over from the Sustainable Agriculture Project farm on south campus where GV’s six beehives are located. From there, hot knives are used to shave the wax layer off of the trays to reach the honey underneath. Then, extractor slots shake the honey out, leaving any leftover wax behind. The process is done with caution to preserve the hives, so the bees can reinhabit them after. 

Wyatt Thorandill, a first-year member of the club, further explained the exact process that was taking place during the event. 

“We’re removing the wax caps from the trays that go in the hives, taking all the wax and honey that came with it and streaming it through to save all of the honey that came off with the wax caps, taking all the wax and putting it in a bucket that will then be bottled up,” said Thorandill. 

In addition to selling the honey, the club hopes to make products like chapsticks and candles, said Thorandill. Thorandrill is a new member this year who said he is excited to learn through the club activities.

“I joined the bee club for the social aspect and to learn more about the bees because they’re an important pollinator,” Thorandrill said. “Plus, I love honey. I would like to know more about where that comes from.” 

He also touched on the importance of the club holding an event like this one, saying, “the club gets people involved in the process of their food’s production. Food is our most direct connection to nature. So, I think it’s important we know where it comes from.”

Also in attendance was the club’s Vice President, Brianna Zuhl, who also gave her insight on the importance of the club. “It’s important to make sure we’re participating in this so GV continues to have the bees. Plus it’s an awesome learning experience for the kids in the ENS 311 class to actually physically collect the honeycombs,” said Zuhl. 

The club also has gone through a drastic rise in members after GV’s campus life night. In addition to new members, the club’s Instagram rose from 150 followers to 400 in a short amount of time, said Emma Jones, the club’s social media representative. 

Jones shares hopes of the club being a space where students can learn how to take care of bees in the wild, what they can continue to do to preserve nature and exactly what the extraction process looks like. The club provides students with information, as well as real practical information. It’s about educating, says Jones.

Jones stressed the importance of educating the GVSU community about bees. She says if the bees are gone, we are all gone.

The club will meet again soon to properly bottle up the newly extracted honey with the objective to sell jars on campus in later months. Another meeting will take place to create products like candles and chapstick.