We seem to have a love-hate relationship with bees. Maybe it stems from an inadvertent childhood bee sting, but many people are afraid of anything that looks like a bee. So, why care about bees?
According to NRDC research, keeping bees safe is good for the planet, the economy – and for our plates! They pollinate more than $15 billion worth of our US food. Would you miss Michigan cherries and apples if the trees were not pollinated? How about cucumbers, carrots, onions, and blueberries?
We want our food and lawns to look a certain way, and yet we don’t think about how the pesticides are affecting bees. And, we don’t think about habitat loss due to development or how climate change might affect bees and other beneficial insects. Let’s develop that mindset!
Wild Mitten Honey Co-op in Grand Rapids is doing just that by helping to save local bees. It started when founder, Joshua Kruis took a job removing bee and hornet nests from people’s property. They would ask him if the bees were going to be killed. (Again, the love-hate relationship.) On one trip, he borrowed some equipment and took the bees to his partner, Teresa DeJager as a gift for her garden.
“While removing hives from people’s homes last summer I noticed that many were concerned about the wellbeing of the honeybees. Even though the hives were infested with a potentially lethal insecticide, people wanted to make sure that, if they were honeybees, they would not be killed,” said Kruis. Impressed by this and his love for the buzzing little ladies he started brainstorming how more people could be involved with caring for bees. He continued, “Getting started is a bit intimidating which is why the Co-op offers the opportunity to be a virtual beekeeper. Each of our members will have an opportunity to come down and visit the hive they sponsor at least 2 times a year. They will also receive updates on the health of their hive throughout the year, and of course, they receive honey from their hive.”
That’s how Wild Mitten Honey Co-op was born. Now YOU can become a virtual bee keeper! Join the Co-op by helping with the purchase of equipment and up to a 1 year supply of honey. You can also purchase additional honey, and set up a convenient recurring annual payment. Or, you can purchase a honey-lover subscription and have one, two, or three pounds of honey delivered right to your door! (Honey is delivered within a 10 mile radius of Grand Rapids, MI.)
Another way to support bees, is to join an event on Thursday April 7th at Mitten Brewery in Grand Rapids. The event will raise money to create a community apiary/garden onsite at the Well House garden with the goal of bringing the love of bees and beekeeping into the city. Well House provides safe, affordable housing to the homeless, and providing a haven for bees will add to their great mission!
The event will include a beard contest (women with crafted beards welcome too), entertainment by Rick Chyme (extraordinary rapper with an extraordinary beard), and a honeybee art raffle. You can also make your mark by adding graffiti to a hive box!
The hives are in the Grand Rapids, MI area and each is named after a flower. There are openings in my second hive. Visit their honey shop to get your membership. Be sure to indicate that you want to join Lavender hive! Let’s keep bees together.
Photos courtesy of Wild Mitten Honey Co-op
Disclosure: I received an unsolicited discount on my Queen Bee Wild Mitten membership. They did not compensate me to write this post and all opinions expressed here are my own.