Within our little town, there are many important acts that people are a part of every day, which make things work the way they do, and these people all take it upon themselves to fill these important roles just to ensure that things are working properly. But, did you know that there is one act that plays a major part in our community which also affects the ecosystem that affects all of us, and we did not even realize it?
This special act is beekeeping. Looking into this activity, I reached out to speak with a couple of local people who are doing their part to play a major role in helping our environment and our community, as well as the honey bee species, by doing this special act of beekeeping.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt and Eve Moore of Kahoka. They have been doing this act of beekeeping for two years now. They work with honey bees. It is very interesting the way they name their hives for their bees. The way they found out about this was they had both done a lot of research before they got started with it on their own.
Why they got into beekeeping, according to Matt was, “Because years ago my grandfather kept bees, and my mom would keep us away from them, and away from the hives so naturally I was drawn to bees. Years went by, and that fascination was not lost and a few years ago after tons of research we ended up starting our own apiary from one package of bees and have been busy ever since.”
Matt and Eve are both active members in the Missouri Bee Keeper’s Association, which meets the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the conference room at the courthouse here in Kahoka. But, what is beekeeping you ask?
“Beekeeping is a way of helping the pollination of crops around the community” and “It is a necessary part of our ecosystem, we shouldn’t work to change or end that,” Matt said.
“People should not be afraid of bees, bees are our friends,” Matt said, adding that there are different purposes for the beekeeping.
“We sell the bees, honey, pollen, propolis medical ointments and tinctures, make candles from the wax, basically everything they collect, use and make (to include the bees themselves) we use, it is symbiotic in a way, each of us depends on the other at times. We rely on the community for their help by having gardens and plants in order to have more sources for pollen and nectar for their bees,” Matt said. “This affects others around them by how it is a positive thing and that the bees are not there to hurt you.”
When talking about the bees, Matt had stated that, “there are no Africanized Honey Bees in Missouri, they are all down south in the Southern States” and another thing is that, “Bees forage for two to three miles away, that is how far they can go.” And, this is actually happening over our town, and we did not even realize how important this is.
Matt explained, “Honey bees just want to work, they don’t sleep, hibernate, or otherwise stop working until they die. An average worker bee’s lifespan is five to eight weeks, depending on how rough the foraging is on her.”
“Bees are the only insect that make food for humans’ consumption, thus, bees and other pollinators make important contributions to agriculture.” He proceeded to explain that, “Pollinators affect 35 percent of global agricultural land, supporting the production of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide.”
“Where other bees tend to favor one species at a time, honey bees are non-discriminant, he said. “The amount of pollen carried by a single bee, about the size of a drop of water, may contain 20 thousand different sources, therefore, honey bees do most of the actual pollination.”
“However, the most essential staple food crops on the planet, like corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and sorghum, need no insect help at all; they are wind pollinated or passive self-pollinating,” Matt said.
According to Matt and Eve, “The best way to getting started with beekeeping is that one should go all out 100% to buy a Nuc (nucleus colony) not a package, Nucs are superior for growth and no lost time. When compared with packages you lose time from the bees trying to sort things out, and for the queen to settle in. After all they are just thrown together by the seller, they are not pulled from the same hive. They are not good queens though. You are always against time, the life cycle from egg to emergence is 21 days for a worker, so if it takes say a week for the queen to settle in and lay well, and a week to draw out a suitable amount of comb for her to lay in, you have already burned a cycle and encroaching on another. The Nuc has had no down time and is literally ready to work when you get it. So, you could pay $130 for a 3lb package of bees, or $150 for a Nuc, it is an easy choice.”
When it comes to beekeeping, the quality of the honey bee matters.
“We are picky with our stock, our management success is largely due the quality of queens we get from Darnell’s Bee Farm in Glenwood, Mo”, Matt said. “Much depends on good genetics, we just don’t see buying inferior stock for a few dollars less which cost you far more in lost time and production, it is just not worth it.”
Matt stated one last thing, “We do swarm removal and cut-outs, apiary management and consulting, basically everything with honey bees, the public is encouraged to call if they have a bee problem or would like more information, they can reach out to Eve’s Apiary at 660-234-4453.”
After speaking to the both of them, Matt had stated that what he thinks is the most important about beekeeping is “To do no harm.”
Eve stated that she thinks it is very important to “Save the bees.”
These are important factors that need to be followed when beekeeping or in general when one is looking at bees in the future because they play a major factor in our environment that we live in and to our community, and by looking at bees in this type of view, we can help our environment together by being kinder to the bee species.