I have been fascinated with bees for a very long time! It is amazing to me how they work, how they create, what they do and how important they are to us. Being the daughter of a farmer and coming from a whole family of farmers, I understand the importance of our relationship with our environment!! I decided I wanted to have my own beehive at home, and to do my own little part to try and help with these very important species!
Bees are one of the most important players in our planet’s ecosystem — They play a vital role in nature (like pollinating our flowers) and they are invaluable when it comes to sustaining our food system. Consider this: According to One Green Planet, Honeybees helped produce approximately $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S. alone in 2010; that’s estimated to be one-third of everything we eat! Bees pollinate about 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the US.
Bees are also in danger and dying at an alarming rate … According to Life Basics Organics, modern agriculture is a big reason that bees are dying and Scientists believe honey bees are dying from pesticides. In 1947 there were 6 million honey bee hives in the US. Today there are under 3 million.
So what can we do to preserve the bees? The best thing we can all do is stop using pesticides, fungicides or herbicides on plants or in our garden. Chemicals and pesticides are the biggest threat to bees that we have. New York Bee Sanctuary also has other great tips on what we can all be doing to help save the bees.
After doing my own research on how to have a beehive at home, I was told that Kirk Anderson was the man I needed to talk to in order to make it happen! This man knows EVERYTHING there is to know about having your own beehive — He knows so much, that I recently did a little q&a session with him after he helped me so that you guys could learn a little bit about what he does, and why we both recommend keeping your own bees!
Kirk Anderson doesn’t spend his time in an office with co-workers – he spends his time outside with colonies … Bee colonies. That’s because his fascination with bees and how they work together (note: Female bees dominate!) led him to turn his hobby into a full-time job.
How did you get started in the field of bee-keeping?
I got started in Salt Lake City in 1969. It wasn’t work it was just a hobby. It started on a whim, really.
Why are you so passionate about bees?
I’m passionate because I find the bees and how they live and thrive very fascinating. If you understand the honey bee and how they survive, there are many lessons to learn. The Queen really wasn’t a Queen. She is really the Mother – that would be a more correct description. The workers are female but don’t reproduce. They manage the hive not the Queen. All decisions are made by the workers and carried out by them. The Drones or Male bees come from a sterile egg. They have no father; in fact, they are a genetic duplicate of their mother, so it’s all women really.
Do you think there is a misconception about bees where everyone is meant to fear them?
The fear of bees comes from the media, really, and the public’s lack of understanding of the bee and their behavior. There is a lot of sensationalism in the media when it comes to bees that simply isn’t true.
How would someone get started in beekeeping?
To get started beekeeping, one should find a beekeeper and talk to him or go along with him. Honeylove.org is in Los Angeles and you can join them, and they have some bees you can have your first experience with. You can also go to Backwards Beekeepers TV. There are some videos there. You should also get this booklet written by Theresa Romansky called Bee Inspirational Teaching Resource.
What new projects are you working on lately?
I’m mentoring two women right now and doing bee work for Green Tree Landscaping. Most of the beekeepers I work with and mentor are women.
The bees in our yard are so happy and healthy, our yard is blooming and our fruits and vegetables have never tasted this good! I have also worked with Erika Thompson from Texas Bee Works to help maintain my beehive at home, and they have been fantastic. You can learn more about there HERE or get in contact with Erka at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And on top of that, we get to get have amazing tasting honey that is as pure as can be!!! Thank you Kirk for helping us do our part! Check out this Rachael Ray episode to get my Gooey Strawberry Honey Jam recipe made with my own honey!