News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Bringing back the bees after a brutal winter
The Medina Beekeepers Association springs into action with optimism and new approaches to saving the beleaguered honey bee
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
The harsh winter claimed up to 80 percent of Ohio's honeybees but it varies from hive to hive. Medina beekeepers are optimistic this year.
Courtesy of James Simonelli
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Not a lot is buzzing in the bee yard this spring in what looks like another sobering season for beekeepers. After a brutal winter many hives are empty. 

But hopes are not, especially in Medina, where a welcome sign reads “home of the honey bee.” 

In today’s Quick Bite, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports that when times get tough for bees, their friends in Medina get busy.

LISTEN: A tough winter, but hopeful signs

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:48)


“See the pollen on that one bee?  Probably from dandelions.” 

A good sign. It means the bees are busy. But there’s still much for humans to do at the Root Candle Company bee yard. 

The bees’ friends get busy
On the first fine day of spring the Medina Beekeepers Association swarms in, eager to get to work.  They’re erecting a shed for their tools, inspecting hives, and setting up new ones. 

Club president Peggy Garnes had a new high-tech hive shipped over from Denmark for club members to test. 

 “So as you can see we have wood hives; we have styrofoam hives. This is a styrene hive, which is a little denser. And then we have a top-bar hive. So that’s another plus for the bee club. We have all different applications of beekeeping here.” 

Home of the honey bee
Medina’s bee club goes back to 1941 and now has more than 200 members.  The town’s renown as an epicenter of beekeeping dates from the mid-19th century, when A.I. Root was better known for bees and honey than candles. 

What grows here is another draw. “Medina is loaded with basswood trees and people from all over the U.S. bring their hives to this location to get basswood honey,” says Kim Flottum, vice president of the bee club and editor of Bee Culture Magazine.

“This is the home of beekeeping in the United States. We were the largest for many years and (are) still regarded as an important voice in the beekeeping industry.”  

Technology might help
The industry’s changing to respond to colony collapse disorder and the myriad of other bee crises in the last 20 years. 

In Ohio, the Agriculture Department reports up to 80 percent of honey bee colonies were lost over the winter. It’s been getting worse. Last year’s losses statewide were about 60 percent. 

But one reason for hope is new technology. Jean Knudsen has heard promising things about that new Danish hive. 

 “The neat thing about it is that in a winter like we just had, it’s very dense styrofoam and it keeps the bees warmer. And they need to maintain a temperature of 95 degrees in the wintertime in order to survive. And so they form this little ball that stays really, really hot by them flapping their little wings. And this makes it easier for them, I guess.”   

Tough little Russians
Peggy Garnes says the ten Russian hives her club set up last month should help, too.  They’re for a tougher type of bee.  “Russian queens. A little darker bee. Very gentle. Cluster tighter in the winter and not use as many stores of honey. And it’s very mite resistant. And that’s probably our biggest problem keeping bees is the varroa mite.”   

The varroa mite killed about one out of three colonies in Ohio last year. 

Flottum says bees that survive all other stressors still have the problem of finding forage.  “Every time you plant an acre of soybeans that wasn’t an acre of soybeans before, that’s one acre less of
 food for bees. And we’ve lost a lot of land that bees were foraging on. It isn’t there anymore.”   

That’s why Flottum calls on everyone, not just beekeepers, to help. “Plant some bee food, put some flowers in your yard and garden, and plant some trees that bees visit. The more food they have, every little bit helps.”   


Say it with flowers

Flottum is especially encouraged by the Ohio Department of Transportation pilot program downstate, planting flowers instead of grass on roadsides.

 “They don’t have to mow it, they’re feeding pollinators, and it’s a win, win, win. Ohio citizens are saving money, ODOT’s saving money, and pollinators are thriving. It’s a trial program. They’re looking at the numbers, but there’s been a lot of states that have done this. West Virginia’s done it. Louisiana’s done a superb job of this. So hopefully Ohio will see the light and we’ll be doing more of that up here.”  

Isn’t it possible that the bees can adapt to what they’re confronting now?

"Yes they can,” says Flottum.“But what happens in the meantime is the question. And making sure there are still bees on the other side by the time they adapt is what keeps me busy every day.”   

Kim Flottum, defender of the bees. His Bee Culture magazine comes out monthly. And next month at its regular meeting, the Medina Beekeepers Association will host another workshop for beginners. 

That’s this week’s Quick Bite. Next week, forget the peanuts and crackerjacks as baseball food goes gourmet in Akron.

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

just instred in what you use for liquid mite control in the sugar water Thanhs. Loie


Posted by: Loie Dean Craft (United StateStockbridge Mich 49285) on January 2, 2015 8:01AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University