On the campus of Public Health at Samford University, Adam Hickman tends to multiple honey bee hives. He’s certified as an EAS Master Beekeeper. The Italian honey bees, numbering around 60,000 are busy at work in their five hives. Bees are extremely important to our food source. According to SustainWeb.org, it’s estimated that about one third of the food we eat relies on pollination mainly by bees!
Hickman, Foxhound Bee Company in Birmingham (https://www.foxhoundbeecompany.com/), is an expert in beekeeping and shares his passion with the community. He teaches classes for the public and also supplies beekeepers with equipment and helps setting up hives in the community. CBS 42 Storm Team Meteorologist Sarah Cantey stopped by the five hives on Samford’s campus to learn more about the important insects.
BENEFITS OF BEES: We already discussed the importance of bees on our food supply. Honey produced by the bees is also rich in nutrients that are stripped from a shelf bought honey, according to Hickman. The honey on the campus of Samford is tested by the nutrition and dietetics department. They look at the antibodies and nutrients in the honey.
“There are so many different types of bees in our environment. And they are all specialists. They all go for certain flowers, like honey bees aren’t good at going to certain flowers. They aren’t good at going to tomatoes but bumblebees are really great at going to tomatoes. So, every bee has its’ specialty. If we didn’t have each one of those types of bees, we would be without a lot of food in our environment,” Hickman said.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER BEES: Hickman says that bees often get a bad rap from hornets or wasps. “They give bees a bad name. They are kind of like the bad guys and girls of the insect world. They kind of have an attitude problem,” Hickman said. So, if you see honey bees, just let them bee.
“When you see bees like this and you see them out on flowers, just leave them alone. Don’t bother them. And they won’t bother you. They are just out working and if they sting you, they die. So, they are not going to die for that flower,” Hickman said.
If you have a honey bee next at your home and want it removed, contact a beekeeper to remove it.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?: Visit the Foxhound Bee Company website (https://www.foxhoundbeecompany.com/). Or attend any of the meetings with the Shelby or Jefferson County Beekeepers Associations. Hickman says not to be intimidated, the meetings are well attended and you won’t feel out of place!