Commonwealth Journal

Features

May 15, 2013

Honey of a Tale

You can beelieve this ... We're not pollen your leg

Jim Bullock was going to his barn a couple of weeks ago when he saw what appeared to be numerous insects flying around the top of a nearby tree.
A closer look revealed a huge swarm of honeybees hanging from a limb. It was a sight not seen since he was a child.
Bullock, who lives in the Sinking Valley community of eastern Pulaski County, was excited because he is familiar with the nationwide loss of honeybees due to parasitic mites and possible pesticide poisoning. 
Anyone who went barefooted as a child can recall being stung by honeybees flitting among white clover blooms. Now, honeybees for the most part have disappeared from yards.
“Come over here and take a look ... I want you to take a picture of this,” Bullock said in a telephone call to his sister, Vickie, a technical specialist II at Lake Cumberland District Health Department. She e-mailed a photograph of the swarm to the Commonwealth Journal.
Bees seeking nectar from clover to clover are nostalgic, but the insects are much more important. The demise of honeybees is a source of concern to fruit and crop growers.
“We’ve got to have them,” said Don Haney, co-owner of Haney’s Appledale Farm near Nancy. “Fruit trees must be pollinated,” he added.
Haney said he brings in beehives for about two weeks to his orchards during bloom time to make sure apple and peach tree blooms are pollinated.
“I get bees from my cousin, Ray Tucker,” Haney noted.
Tucker, a member of Lake Cumberland Beekeepers Association, is more optimistic than many apiarists.
“Around the lake is a pretty good habitat for bees,” Tucker said. “There are more wild bees around here than many people think.”
Bees are fascinating insects. Talking about the swarm in Bullock’s tree out at Sinking Valley, Tucker said the bees are awaiting a location for a permanent hive.

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