Local business provides support to honey bee populations

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Despite the issues with the pandemic, beekeepers are still working hard trying to make sure their honey bees are thriving.

Honeybees have been prone to colony collapse, and many experts believe they may soon go extinct in some regions of the world, which would devastate ecosystems.

The Blue Ridge Bee Company in Princeton provides a yearly bee distribution, where they distribute honey bee hives to beekeepers. Will Lambert, co-owner of the company, says the distribution helps ensure honey bee populations thrive throughout the state.

“A lot of them come from out of the state, some of them are raised in the state. People come from all over to pick them up and then take them back to their homes to put them back in their own hives so they can raise honey bees themselves,” Lambert said. 

To distribute the bees, they sell them in packages of artificial hives with hundreds of thriving bees. During this year’s season the Blue Ridge Bee Company has already had a lot of business in distributing bees and helping local beekeepers. 

“We’ve sold over 300 packages alone this year. We do that and then there’s multiple people that come in everyday to get supplies for their bees.”

Another aspect of their business involves monthly beekeeping classes, which unfortunately have been cut short due to the pandemic. According to Will, education is one of the most important factors in keeping up bee populations. 

“We try to educate people as much as possible. The more you can educate people, the better they do with the bees. Because if you don’t treat them, they’re gonna die. If you don’t feed them certain times a year, they don’t build up enough bees to make it through winter.”

And according to Lambert, there are plenty of things people who aren’t professional beekeepers can do to help local bee populations. 

“You can put water out for the bees, you can let your yard grow so your dandelions come up. That’s one of the first food sources, they’re out right now, that the honey bees use to provide for their colonies.”

Experts say bee populations kept by commercial beekeepers fell forty percent in the span of just one year, between April 2018 and April 2019. And beekeepers provide much more than just locally-made honey. Honey bees provide necessary pollination for hundreds of types of plants, many of which are sold commonly in your local grocery store.

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