Many private land owners understand the delicate balance between human use and natural ecology of their property. This delicate balance can be achieved by adhering to the old adage of “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” When land owners have already taken natural habitat for some species in order to introduce human industry of any kind, many aim to restore the land to its natural state as much as possible. A “natural state” includes re-naturalization of many types of flowering forage used by honey bees and other pollinators, luring them back to the land.
Honey bees have gained quite a bit of recent land and farm media attention because of their alarming decrease in population. The USDA created a Honey Bee Pollinator fund, giving more than $4 million to farmers in midwestern and upper plains states to help reinstate these flowering grasses and legumes. But for many farmers, reclaiming even some of their property for honey bee forage has been tedious. At first, the USDA funding also required following strict guidelines about how much of their land had to be honey bee forage. More recently, some guidelines have flexed a bit, such as relaxing a 75% honey bee forage requirement for producers growing conservation cover down to 40%, and allowing more intense prescribed grazing activities by livestock to maintain healthy forage during specific times of year. The same concerns should gain the attention of farmers in North Carolina too, as more than $15 billion of crops are pollinated by bees each year.
In North Carolina, many owners of land of every description have engaged in beekeeping for both the protection of bees and for the health benefits of natural honey. There are plenty of resources available to help get you started with your very own apiary. Here’s a pretty thorough listing of everything from items you’ll need to costs you can expect from the NCSU agricultural extension. Two North Carolina suppliers mentioned include:
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
610 Bethany Church Rd Mor
avian Falls, NC 28654
TEL: 800- BEESWAX (800-233-7929); FAX: 336-921-2681;
Miller Bee Supply
11562 North Highway16, Millers Creek, NC 28651
TEL: 888-848-5184; Customer Service: 336-667-7513