My intent is to use this as a vehicle to help educate and inform the general public by raising awareness to the importance of the honeybee to mankind and its current plight with the numerous pests, diseases and chemicals that have been introduced to its environment. Too few people understand how dependent we are on the honeybee for pollination of our food supply and the challenges that are faced by the honeybees and beekeepers. My goal is to also share my experiences with newer beekeepers, anyone who thinks that they want to become a beekeeper or anyone who is just generally interested in honeybees. Over the years I have received invaluable help from beekeepers more experienced than I, and in some small way, I want to repay them by helping others.

What most people think of when you mention honeybees is of course is the sweet, healthy treat we are all familiar with – honey. In reality for US beekeepers for every one dollar in honey sales, there are ten dollars generated pollinating fruits, vegetables and nuts for our farmers. It is said that 1/3 of all our food consumed here, we owe to plants that have been pollinated by the honey bee, and without them we would not have the abundant, low cost supply of food that we currently enjoy. I am sure that everyone out there has at least heard something about some of the pressures that the honeybees and their keepers are under today and we will talk about that more later on.

I certainly do not claim to be an expert on beekeeping by any means. While I I have been keeping bees for almost fifteen years, there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new and am amazed with what I see and learn while working with the bees or watching them in my observation hive. They are truly fascinating creatures. I can share more of what not to do based on my failures, while I have learned what I should be doing based on teachings from the experts that I have come in contact with, associations with bee clubs and reading up-to-date articles in the bee publications. I come in contact with numerous individuals who have an interest in getting involved with beekeeping. I would caution anyone who has an interest in becoming a beekeeper they must truly have a passion and love for the bees. There is an old saying that “there are beekeepers and there are beehavers” My observation is that the “beehavers” will not have bees for long if they do not take care of them. Long gone are the days when you could set a hive out in the back yard, put a honey super on the hive during the nectar flow, harvest the honey and pretty much forget about the hive until the next spring. Today with all the challenges the bees are faced with, beekeeping is demanding of time and attention almost the same as a pet or other livestock animal. Obviously I feel that the rewards are well worth it for a day “in the bees” is always a great day.

~Mike Elliott