Benzonia Beekeeper Excited For Population Boost

The honeybee population, starting to bounce back after struggling for years. 
 And that’s good news for beekeepers across Northern Michigan. 

The U.S. Department Of Agriculture recently released a survey saying the number of honeybees is up. 
They also say cases of Colony Collapse Disorder, which causes bees to mysteriously disappear, are down. 

"Over the last 15 years it’s been challenging to keep the bees healthy and prosperous and making honey," Kirk Jones said. 

It’s a struggle beekeeper Kirk Jones knows all too well, keeping his hives healthy. 

"The bee population for beekeepers goes up and down according to the year the climate and the pressure from bee mites which spreads diseases to the bees," he said. 

Now Kirk says his colonies are back to doing well.
They were devastated by Colony Collapse Disorder about five years ago. 
It forced him and other beekeepers to make adjustments. 

"We will make new beehives we take a good strong hive and we take some bees out and we will put new queen bee in and make a new hive out of it. And a beekeeper has to do that every year. We are tied in with the farmers we work closely with them to provide good strong honeybees and a population to pollinate their crops," he said. 

Local businesses, like Saint Ambrose Cellars, rely on a healthy bee population. They say the recent numbers from the Department Of Agriculture are encouraging. 

"We may have less honey to sell but we will always have enough mead as long as our bees are happy and healthy," Andrea Greening said. 

And even though the population is doing better, Kirk says they still have work to do. 

"We are always challenged to keep our honeybees healthy and the future looks good but we have to work very hard to keep honeybees healthy," Kirk said. 

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