Page 9 - Discover Summer 2022
P. 9



                                                                                             By Charles Alexander

           It’s definitely not a hobby for everyone, nor        have as their mission attaching themselves to,
        is it one that can be approached casually, or           and biting, their hosts. Since ticks may carry
        put aside for a while. Indeed, local apiarist Bill      a number of serious diseases, this makes them

        Pecoraro insists that best results are achieved         even more dangerous.
        through micromanagement of one’s hive.
                                                                   This retired environmental science teacher
        He cautions against beekeeping as a pursuit,
                                                                eagerly clarifies the distinction between bees,
        unless one is willing to risk hundreds of
                                                                and their distant cousins: hornets and wasps.
        dollars in the hope of harvesting a few pounds
                                                                While bees are pollinating insects that collect
        of honey for a year’s effort.
                                                                nectar and produce honey, hornets and wasps
           While it may not be “rocket science”,                are predatory, sometimes parasitic, and they

        there definitely is a right way to successfully         are also scavengers. But even these more
        cultivate honey bees. Delving into this realm           aggressive insects will usually not sting you
        requires an understanding of the nature and             unless you give them a reason, such as flailing
        functions of a bee colony.                              your arms in a panic because you are afraid of
                                                                being stung. More to the point, honey bees
           The word “beekeeper” often conjures up
                                                                are far less aggressive, and they are bred for
        mental images of a person wearing an outfit
                                                                their gentle nature; the Italian honey bee is a
        that resembles something akin to a space suit,
                                                                popular favorite.
        replete with wide brimmed hat adorned with
        fine netting. Our innate fear of being stung               So why, then, the Imperial Stormtrooper
        helps to reinforce that image, but the truth is         costume? They are used primarily by
        that the hobbyist has little use for such attire.       commercial beekeepers, which maintain many
        In fact, honey bees are quite gentle, and after         large hives. They don’t have the luxury of being
        a brief orientation, this writer was able to get        able to take a relaxed, unhurried approach
        a close-up view of the inner workings of the            when interfacing with their livestock.
        hive without feeling threatened.
                                                                   To bee or not to bee…

           Pecoraro jokes about being a lot more afraid
                                                                   Bill is schooling his friend, Jim Chandler,
        of ticks than he is of bees. He explains that
                                                                on the finer points of the hobby, a word which
        bees will not sting you as long as they do not
                                                                he is careful to use. “I wouldn’t recommend
        perceive you as a threat to their safety, or to
                                                                to anyone to try and do this to make money”,
        the safety of the hive. On the other hand, ticks

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