The buzz about bees and Earth Day

A lone bumble bee visits flowers in Genoa.

A lone bumble bee visits flowers in Genoa.

Today, the Nevada State Museum is celebrating Monday’s Earth Day by setting up a bee hotel for solitary species.

Next week, the Friends of the Douglas County Public Library are showing “The Beekeeper.”

That movie doesn’t have much to do with actual apiculture, but it is an indication that there’s a lot of buzz surrounding bees these days.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Census, there were 15 honey producing farms in Douglas County that produced 672 pounds of commercial honey.

Across the state, the number of honeybee farms increased from 108 to 156 and sales of honey rose from $418,000 to $537,000 over the five years between 2017 and 2022.

Bees are considered livestock, but beekeeping is about more than making a buck.

Last month, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension hosted a three-day Bee & Garden Conference at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Douglas County Extension Educator Lindsay Chichester, Master Gardener Mary Martin and resident Bill Taylor conducted a roundtable on the challenges of being a beekeeper.

Martin said she retired to Western Nevada a decade ago after retiring as a nurse.

She started keeping bees three years ago in order to pollinate the plants on her property.

“My goal is to have good fruits and vegetables and to have biodiversity in my yard,” Martin said. “Last year, my bees, and the great winter we had, brought more apples than I knew what to do with. I had plums and could not make enough jam.”

Chichester grew up in Antelope Valley south of Gardnerville and became Douglas County’s Extension Educator in 2018.

“I did a county meet and greet to see what people in Douglas County wanted, and bees came in high,” she said. “So, I went down the rabbit hole, going to every class I could go to and reading books.”

When the pandemic hit, four years ago, she started beekeeping to occupy her time and figure it out.

That led to the foundation of the Bee and Pollinator Club where members discuss what works and what doesn’t

“My motivation was to help others, and that still is changing to do a lot of outreach and education,” she said. “Teaching about beekeeping is still a motivation. We don’t harvest it to sell. We harvest it to make things and to show people, and a lot of things that a normal beekeeper might not do.”


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