Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 5, 2012

Beekeepers meet focuses on planting sites to create honey corridors

GRAYSON — Beekeepers and enthusiasts gathered Tuesday evening to hear Dr. Tammy Horn speak about planting to create honey corridors in Kentucky and Appalachia.

The beekeeping specialist and author said keeping bees is beneficial to both people and the environment because of the role they place in nature.

“Bees are the insurance policy of food production,” Horn said. “When you have a crisis in nature, producers suffer. Any time you have those gaps you have a possibility for future generations to suffer.”

Karen Felty of Greenup County said she and her husband decided to take up beekeeping because it can be helpful to them as well as the community.

“Bees will make gardens more productive, and they say one teaspoon a day of local honey is good for allergies,” Felty said.

Along with giving tips on how to plant and prepare for beekeeping, Horn also discussed the growth of  the beekeeping program she initiated in 2007, Coal Country Beeworks. The three steps of the program, in this order, are to create a pollinator habitat on reclaimed surface mine sites, to get bees to the habitat after it is planted and to work with locals and establish beekeepers in the area.

Now in its fifth year, the program that began with three bee yards on one coal company’s surface mine sites has grown to seven. The program has had an 80 to 90 percent success rate, Horn said, which has created an infrastructure for research. This has allowed for queen production and research on how the new bees are socializing with native bees.

“Some things I had hoped for when I first started are finally becoming a reality,” she said.

After speaking, Horn was available to sign her her recently published book, “Beeconomy: What Women and Bees can Teach us About Local Trade and Global Markets.”

About 30 to 40 attended the event. Many members of the Little Sandy Beekeepers Club were missing, but because of  promotion of the event, there were several new faces in the crowd, said president of the club John Blasius.

The program was sponsored by the club, which meets the first Tuesday of every month.

SHANNON MILLER can be reached at smiller@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2657.

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