Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 57

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who is currently beta-testing bee apps.
"Beekeeping is local," Dale says. "As
little as 20 miles can make a difference in
how you keep and maintain them. What
is available for forage within a couple of
miles is important. Honey bees usually
only visit one type of flower each time
out; one reason they are so important to
pollination."
As Davis tends his hives, he says, "Bees
are sentient animals. They make decisions, do math, know the seasons and
understand temperature." He learned
from Dale that they navigate by the sun
even on cloudy days. And, when they return from a successful foraging trip, they
"waggle dance" to communicate.
"They transmit vibrations through
the comb in the darkness of the hive
to tell direction, distance and food
source amounts [of pollen and nectar] to the rest of their community,"
Dale says.
Throughout the day, Davis's bees fly
to the neighboring cow pasture to "get
nutrients. And they sit on rocks in our
birdbaths to drink water. The females fly
and fly their whole lives, until they can
fly no more."
According to Dale, these social insects
and their colonies are considered a super
organism: "The colony as a whole works
together similarly to the human body.
There are three types of bees in each. A
worker bee (female) who has many various duties during her short six- to eightweek lifespan. The queen (female) who's
only duty is to lay 1,500-2,000 eggs per
day in her three- to five-year lifetime.
And drones (male) who's only duty dur-

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After a moment smiling
as his charges buzz around
us, Davis concludes, "I'll
definitely have hives when
I get my own house."
Finally, this young beekeeper settles back in a
chair near his hives. As he
sits with his cup of coffee
"watching them fly," he
suggests, "One easy thing
everyone can do to help
bees is to let the dandelions
and other things bloom before cutting the lawn."

ing a lifespan of a few
months is to mate with
ɶɶ Bees
a queen's single mating
ɶɶ Bee suit
flight, 20- to 30-feet off
	
and gloves
the ground."
ɶɶ Smoker
On the topic of temɶɶ Hive tools
perament, experts agree
ɶɶ Hive bodies
that most honey bees are
	
and honey
quite gentle and have
	supers
ɶɶ A mentor
no interest in stinging as
"Sure one person
they die shortly after.
can't solve it all,"
However, according to
says Schumacher.
Davis, "It's not if you're
"But we as a
going to get stung. It's
collective can make
Buzz in the Blue Ridge
when!" As we talked, one
the change; and
What began as a mined
stung his head.
the impact it can
have on our planet
land restoration project
"She was mad because
is immeasurable."
now provides economic opshe got hung in my hair,"
(AHBPA)
portunities to 17 counties
Davis calmly states. "She
in West Virginia. Apiculture
released an attack
through the Appalachian
pheromone that tells
Beekeeping Collective has
the others 'I've stung
here. Come and sting more.'" So Da- become a workforce development presvis quickly used a lemon-scented wipe ence in rural areas struggling to keep
pace with cost of living demands. "We
to get rid of the "message to the hive."
These days the young beekeeper ap- help our members learn the art, science
plies his freshly minted college degree and business of earning a sustainable
in the cyber security world. While he income through beekeeping" (appheadenjoys his new career, Davis says, "I've waters.org/beekeeping). Expansion plans
got to try everything. I do scuba diving, include southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky projects.
mountain biking, and now I keep bees."

"She released an attack pheromone
that tells the others 'I've stung here.
Come and sting more.'"

MAY/JUNE 2020

57


http://www.waters.org/beekeeping

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 9
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 23
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover3
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover4
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