Local beekeeper prepares for honey season and encourages others to participate

Local beekeeper offers suggestions on how to keep hives thriving
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 10:52 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Many times people worry that the bee population is dying.

One local beekeeper, Ed Hafer, said that’s simply not the case.

Hafner has 60 colonies in Hattiesburg, where bees are very much alive and thriving right now.

“Queens are just starting to kind of pick up their egg-laying again,” Hafner said. “They’re trying to build up the colonies in time for swarm season in March.

When the colonies are really robust, the queen takes half the bees and flies away, leaves half the bees and the resources to make a new queen.”

Although one single hive in Mississippi could potentially make over 100 pounds of honey in a season, many beekeepers deal with food fraud where competitors make honey that isn’t 100 percent pure.

“We can’t really test sufficiently to determine the quality of honey,” Hafner said. “The honey tricksters are getting evermore clever with their methods for reproducing honey.

(But) if you buy locally, you know what you’re getting.”

Hafer adds that the best way to help save the bee population isn’t by placing a hive in your backyard.

The biggest bee boost: Stay informed and share the word.

“Plant flowers,” Hafner said. “Teach what you learn about bees. Teach your kids about bees. Visit a bee yard. Bring your school class out to meet the bees and realize that they’re our friend.”

Hafer also encouraged people to visit different local beekeepers to learn more about how to do their part to help the bee population.

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