Lincoln woman turns love for the environment into a unique hobby



For her 28th birthday, Jacy Oborny wanted one thing: a beehive.

“I chose beekeeping because I really like trying to take care of the environment,” Oborny said. “I read a book, the Secret Life of Bees and I just got really interested in the different elements and ideas that they came up with using the products that bees created. I felt like it was something else to add.”

When her father showed up with a box labeled Draper’s Super Bee Apiaries, Oborny was surprised.

“I asked for a beehive for my birthday kind of as a joke,” she said. “I didn’t really think that my father would actually follow through with it.”

She knew at that point that her dream to continue nurturing the environment as a beekeeper was a reality.

In 2014, Oborny attended the Beekeeping for Beginners class at Southeast Community College to help her in her journey of becoming a beekeeper. The class is a year long course that lasts from October until September. It provides students with the information needed to care for bees throughout each season.

According to Nancy Holman, the leisure learning director at SCC, the course has grown in popularity. This suggests that the number of bee hobbyists is growing. 2010-2013_Enrollment_numbers_for_SCC'S_Beekeeping_101_________Number_enrolled_chartbuilder

The number of people enrolled in the course jumped from 33 in 2012 to 56 in 2013. People have been so interested in the course that SCC started capping enrollment at 40 to 45 people a year.

“There have been some years that we have turned away folks,” Holman said.

While interest in the hobby has increased, there is no shortage of challenges for new beekeepers.

Oborny, now 29, recalled some of her challenges in her first year of beekeeping. In 2015, Oborny squished her queen bee while trying to check on the other frames, the elements in the beehive that hold the honeycombs.bees2

“The first year we kind of got a little ram roddy,” she said. “We’d take a frame out and put back in. We’ve learned to take out one frame, put it to the side and then just kind of navigate through the side frames at that point. It gave us more room.”

Another challenge that new beekeepers face is accurately judging the space in a hive. If not done properly, the hive can become overcrowded forcing the queen bee to abandon the hive with a swarm of worker bees.

Oborny recommends that new hobbyists who face challenges should relax and let the bees do the work.

“Honey bees are smart and efficient little creatures,” she said. “If something seems to be off, wait a couple of days before reacting. Most of the issues I faced with the bees, if I had just relaxed and let them work it out i would have saved myself a headache.”

The majority of the summer maintenance of a beehive is checking on the bees to make sure that they have plenty of room to work.

Although there is some maintenance involved in being a beekeeper, it is a relatively cheap hobby. A starter kit like the one that
Oborny’s father bought her runs $446.95, according to The beginner’s box includes a bee suit, helmet, gloves, 10 frames, a hive body, a smoker and the bees to get a new hobbyist started.

bees in handThe cost to start a hobby that helps the environment is priceless in Oborny’s eyes.

“The thing that I enjoy most about beekeeping is that I’m helping the environment a very small but significant way,” she said. “We need bees for our livelihood. Most of the produce we eat wouldn’t be possible without them and in that very small way I’m saving the world.

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