For most people, the fewer bees you encounter the better.
But that is not the case for one local business owner.
She pays for people to bring bees onto her property by the thousands.
We learned when we were young that bees are a crucial part in the pollination process and although to most of us they just seem like pests, to others their income relies on the queen bee and her hive going to work.
Judi Ditzler owns Ditzler Orchard and Cherry Wood Farm where every year she pays to bus in thousands and thousands of honey bees.”It is a matter of survival to have the bees. I mean, they make the crop,” she says.
Ditzler’s business relies on pollination, “the crops we mainly need to hire the bees for are the apples, the apple crop which absolutely has to have that pollination, and the cherry crop has to have it. They also help with our blueberries and they help with the strawberries.”
She typically rents 10 hives a year. One of her suppliers is bee keeper Chad Davis, “typically it depends on the size of the hive as to how many bees are in it. It can range, average from 10 thousand to 60 thousand bees in an average hive,” he says.
Bees have always been a crucial part in pollination but in recent years bee keepers have seen demand for their hives rise.
“It is more common today then it used to be 50 years ago. 50 years ago we had enough wild bees and honey bees available to help pollinate crops, and with agricultural processes that have developed over the years and use of chemicals such as insecticides, the bee populations have been declining,” says Davis.
Honey bees aren’t the only way to increase pollination, but Dizler says the little critters are the best.
“But the honey bees because that pollen sticks so well and they are just so busy, they really are the best pollinators,” says Ditzler.
People like Ditzler may have a more direct appreciation for the busy workers but if they didn’t exist, “the average person would have a harder time finding food,” says Davis.
Ditzler uses the bees for all sorts of crops and says she typically uses them for up to 6 weeks starting with the apple trees and staying through the strawberry blossoms.