Thankful for Beekeepers

Posted by on

Thankful Thursday Series

by Tiffany Shelton
Photo by Casey Liu

Today, someone brought me Häagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream--one of my favorites. That sugary silk saturated with chocolate-chip cookie clumps sends me into heaven, but only as long as my spoon is full. If I’m not careful, I can eat a whole pint in one sitting! So I decided to put my ice cream in the freezer after I ate about half of it.

Unfortunately for me, it was gone after about an hour.

It’s okay, though, I reminded myself. I always have ice cream with my Thanksgiving dessert, and Thanksgiving is almost here. 

Thanksgiving is all about showing appreciation and spending time with family. But for me, (and I’m sure most of us) we all love the food. We don’t roast a large turkey for hours every day! There’s also candied yams, mashed potatoes, slow-cooked stuffing, grandma’s green bean casserole, roasted butternut squash….

I love Thanksgiving.

Every year my family bakes a lot of pumpkin desserts, including pumpkin pie and pumpkin crunch. Though delicious on its own, I love to elevate the flavor with vanilla ice cream. 

One reason I purchase the Häagen-Dazs brand is because they advocate for “saving the humble honey bee.” Because of bees, we have:

  • Honey
  • Flowers
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Organic skin care
  • Candles
  • Essential oils
  • Car wax
  • Certain medications that use Propolis
  • Different flavors of ice cream

And many more. My Thanksgiving feast would not be possible without bees. They pollinate about a third of the world's crops. Pumpkin, a poster-food for fall, requires pollination to grow. Can you imagine a Thanksgiving without pumpkin?

As I am all for advocating saving the bees, I don’t always know how. I recently had a hive form in a hole in my wall. The hole had originally formed due to water damage in a part of the house we don’t use. It started with one bee, then ten, then before I knew it, there were thousands of bees in the hole.

I knew that a hive removal of that size in an awkward hole in the wall would be expensive, and at the time I was pregnant and not working too often.

Photo by Casey LiuOne of my coworkers is also a beekeeper. She offered to come over to the house and look the hive over and tell me my options. After she saw all those bees living in a corner in my home, she knew that the easiest option for me would be extermination. So she offered to remove them for free. I just had to help her make the hole a little bigger so she could reach in and grab them. This ordeal took her roughly three days to finish, and there was about two bucket-fulls of honey to harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Casey Liu

Her love of bees was so inspiring that this Thanksgiving I want to show my appreciation to all beekeepers. Here are a few reasons to thank your local beekeeper:

 

Beekeepers harvest and process bee by-products

For beekeepers with one or two hives, this may not seem like a big deal. Beekeepers with thirty or more hives probably spend about a full day harvesting. They have to separate the honey from the wax from each individual hive while being careful to not harm the bees in the process.

Beekeepers get stung for a living

They suffer through this so that we don’t have to. In the process of my own hive removal, I got stung once, but my coworker got stung at least twenty times through her bee suit. One honeybee makes about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime, so if beekeepers want honey, they must have hundreds if not thousands of bees. 

Beekeepers keep bee population going

I’ve never met a beekeeper who isn’t an advocate for helping the bees. They avoid using pesticides on their own plants and flowers because they are known for decimating the bee population. Oftentimes, beekeepers are advocates for organic farming, but not necessarily because they prefer to eat organic, but because organic farming can help save the bees.

Beekeepers also have to protect bees from harsh winters, diseases such as CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), and parasites. The role of the beekeeper switches from farmer, to bee doctor, to exterminator (of parasites). A beekeeper must have adequate knowledge in each role in order to own a thriving hive.

Honey

Beekeepers are doing their best to keep the bee population alive and flourishing. They are the reason I get to have a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner and delectable Thanksgiving desserts. As much as I am thankful to have bees, I am so thankful to the beekeeper who helped me with my own problem, and to beekeepers everywhere that go through painstaking work for bee by-products. I can’t imagine a life without a colorful variety of vegetables, ice creams, and skin care products.

Where would we bee without beekeepers?

Tiffany's son Axel, in his bee pajamas
Tiffany's son Axel in his bee pajamas

← Older Post Newer Post →



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published