Newfound appreciation for bees

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I’ve always been afraid of bees. A city girl almost always avoids natural habitats where insects swarm and I’m no exception. Even so, I found myself in the middle of dozens of beehives last week during my interview with a local beekeeper. To say I was completely terrified is an understatement. However, I never back down from a challenge and regarded this interview as such.

The beekeeper I interviewed cares for 50 beehives in his backyard. Once the formal sit-down interview was done, I followed the beekeeper down to hives swarming with bees to attempt to take photos.

Throughout my life, I’ve always kept my distance from bees, which is probably why I’ve never been stung before. Luckily I didn’t get stung that day and in turn developed a new appreciation for honeybees.

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While I’ve never understood the fascination with beekeeping or any hobby regarding insects, I quickly realized that these creatures are smart, nonthreatening and vital for our ecosystem.

Bees produce honey and pollinate natural plant communities. They play a huge role in our ecosystem and should be acknowledged for their contribution.

However, the bee population is dwindling in the United States due to colony collapse disorder. The beekeeper told me there are several theories as to why this is happening, including electromagnetic radiation and crop pesticides. He also said there aren’t as many beekeepers in this day and age.

I admire people who dedicate their time to ensuring the honeybee population thrives. Although bees can be dangerous at times, when they do sting they’re just protecting their home from predators for their own survival.

While I won’t be starting a hobby in beekeeping anytime soon and I’m still a city girl who runs at the very sight of a bug, I definitely have a newfound appreciation for bees.