Start Your Own Beehive? - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Start Your Own Beehive?

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Over the last decade the bee population has been steadily declining. Now bee keepers are trying to educate the public on the importance of bees, hoping to possibly persuade them to brave the swarms and start their own hives.

"I knew absolutely nothing about bees, absolutely nothing. Then one day I had a swarm going across our yard and I was right in the middle of it before I knew it. When a beekeeper finally came and told me all they did, I just thought, oh my gosh this is so interesting, so I decided to keep them," shared Janet Alberts.

Alberts has now been a beekeeper for five years, and with over 20,000 types of bees, she says she is always learning something new.

"You'll never know everything about bee keeping. Every day there's something new, something different," she said.

There are all kinds of facts that people may not know about bees. To start off with, only females, also known as workers, live in the hives during the winter. Males, or drones, can't even sting you, they're only job is to breed with the queen.

"The drones are not allowed to stay in the hive for the winter. They kill them and throw them out because drones are so lazy they won't even feed themselves and really they are only taking up space. They are eating the food that the workers need," explained Alberts.

"The workers, which are all female, are the only ones that can sting you and will leave the stinger in you and die," added beekeeper Rob Babcock. "The queen can sting you but almost never will, and the drones, the males, don't have stingers."

While most people fear being stung, bees are actually helping way more than they are hurting.

Babcock explains, "That's where we get a third of our produce and crops from, is from pollination from bees. Every third bite we eat is directly attributed to bees."

Not only are they important for food but other products as well.

"You can use the hive products to make lip balms, lotions, a lot of cosmetic items, soap bars all kinds of things," said Alberts.

So if you're looking for a new hobby that could possibly make you some money, starting your own hive costs around $400 or less -- which includes the necessary equipment and the bees themselves.

For more information on ordering bees and starting your own hive, contact Rob Babcock at ron@babcockfarms.com.

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