Honey extraction: a beyond the classroom experience

A good majority of the college experience consists of attending lectures, reading textbooks, taking notes, and studying. Sounds a lot like high school and school in general, right? Unfortunately, all these aspects of school are the “necessary evils” that force us to learn and retain a lot of information in a short period of time. Yet by general consensus, college is suppose to be the “best years of one’s life.”

While I disagree with the premise of college equaling the best years of my life (maybe it will turn out to be the best years of my life so far but I have a long life to live), I believe the reason college is dubbed “the best” is because of the outside the classroom experiences. So, while college does consist of hours of “classic” school there is a lot more to it than homework assignments and test grades.

This past week I had one of these “beyond the classroom” experiences. I am currently taking entomology (Bio 251), with Dr. Kirk Larsen. In entomology (the study of insects), we get to catch, identify and collect insects for our collections. We also got to perform our own group research projects (which we will be presenting on next Thursday, December 8 at the Fall Research Symposium during shadow block).

I absolutely love this class and, unlike my Chemistry class, I do not mind the “textbook” aspects of it. However, I also like the outside class experiences, particularly ones that involve honey!

Luther has a couple of honey bee hives that Dr. Larsen takes care of and this past weekend he invited the class to come and extract honey from the combs.

Being as obsessed with honey as I am (I literally keep a bit of honey comb in my room for the occasional study snack) I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So I got to go to Dr. Larsen’s house and extract honey.

In Dr. Larsen’s basement, he set up a barrel that essentially works like one of those awesome salad spinners, using centripetal force to “whip” the honey right out of the honeycombs. I had the honor of spinning the barrel.

After a couple hours of work, I even got to take home a little jar of honey!

Here's the big barrel we used to extract the honey

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