Giving bees the buzz they deserve in Bay County

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bees are of course a vital part of the food chain, but they don't always get the buzz they deserve.

"Be gentle with your bees," said Beekeeper Johnnie Beshearse. Beshearse has his own business in Lynn Haven, called Ellie B's Honey.

Bees are probably best known for their role in pollination. The ever-popular honey bee, of course, produces honey.

"Managed bees are not usually a big problem because people like me, beekeepers take care of them. It's the native pollinators that suffer the most," said Beshearse.

Honey bees differ from native bees in that native bees aren't as prone to the colony collapse that has honey bees disappearing.

"We're going to increase the bee population by providing bee houses in normal everyday people's homes, outside," said Christy Linke of the Florida Federated Garden Club.

At Thursday's Gulf Beach Garden Club meeting, the FFGC presented a program promoting native bees.

"There are 329 species of native bees in Florida alone, with 29 just in our own area. Therefore, they're here," Linke said.

Native bees are more plentiful, especially in Bay County, but they're also better pollinators.

"Pollination is important for the growth of the flower. For your fruits, vegetables, and nuts, they have to be pollinated," Linke explained.

Several weeks without rain in Northwest Florida isn't helping the bee population either.

"As it rains, of course, you get more nectar and the bees are collecting that nectar and that plays back to pollination," explained Beshearse.

However, experts say that's one of the best ways to help keep bees safe.

"As long as we provide it, they have water," Linke said.

Whether it's honey bees or native bees, all bees are valuable to our food chain and experts want to make sure we're taking care of them.

"Just whatever you do, promote through education. Get our kids involved," Linke said.

For more information on Ellie B's Honey, click the link at the top of this page. Beshearse and his business will have a table set up at Christmas at the Fair this weekend at the Bay County Fairgrounds. He will be selling the honey he jars all year long.