Meet Janice Williams: Beekeeper

Inside The Life of a Bee Keeper

Hello friends! My name is Janice Williams, a local beekeeper here in California.

Hopefully, you are here because you want to learn more about my favorite creatures, bees!

Bees often get a bad rap because they can sting people, but I’m here to change people’s perceptions of them. I promise you, they are gentle creatures if you respect them.

As a beekeeper, honeybees are my passion. I love educating people about why these organisms are so great.

They do more good than we give them credit for, and we rely on them more than we think.

Honeybees not only produce the delicious golden nectar we call honey, but they are also essential for our environment, economy, and agriculture. These busy little workers are responsible for pollinating our most vital crops and favorite flowers. Thus, they are critical for our survival!

Today, I will share some inside knowledge about what a beekeeper like myself does and how you can protect our black and yellow little friends. You can play an essential role in their survival, so I hope that you join me on my mission to keep these tiny creatures safe.

What does a beekeeper do?

So you might be wondering, what does a beekeeper do?

You have probably seen a beekeeper on T.V. before, and you might have some ideas about what we do. Beekeepers wear the netted hats and suits while taking out trays of bees from boxes and scooping honey, right?

If this is the image you have of beekeepers, you’re not wrong. However, there is so much more to my job than that.

We indeed maintain habitats for the beehives we take care of and prepare colonies for honey production. Our job is to stay vigilant and make sure that the hives are free from diseases and parasites. In addition, we make sure a colony always has a queen bee.

Once the honey our bees produce is ready, we make sure that we safely harvest it. We then filter it by straining it and removing any impurities.

Why are bees important?  

Because I work so closely with bees, I see firsthand how important they are for human beings. We would not survive without bees!

One reason we rely so heavily on bees is that they pollinate some of our most vital crops. We can thank bees for cucumbers, broccoli, almonds, cranberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, and many other crops we eat.

Not only do bees pollinate the food humans eat, but they are essential for nourishing the food animals consume. Almost every animal we encounter –from birds and domestic pets to cattle – relies on bees to pollinate their food source. Crops wouldn’t survive without bees!

The world would also be a much less beautiful place without bees. Flowers and trees around us rely on bees for pollination. Without bees, we wouldn’t have all of the vibrant biodiversity we do on this planet.

Needless to say, we rely on bees more than we think!

What dangers do bees face?

While bees are crucial to life on this planet, they are actually in grave danger. Millions of hives have disappeared in the past few decades. Experts call this colony collapse disorder.

There are numerous reasons why bees are disappearing at alarming rates.

One contributing factor is parasites and diseases. Just like you and I can get sick, bees are also prone to catching infections. Fungi, bacteria, and viruses can affect these creatures and severely impact them. In addition, parasites, like parasitic tracheal mites and varroa destructor mites, can wreak havoc on bees and even kill them.

Pesticides are another threat bees face. Farmers use chemicals to prevent harmful pests from damaging their crops. However, these can also harm beneficial honeybees.

Lastly, climate change and extreme weather patterns can affect the spring flower bloom. These changes can impact the honeybee food supply.

What can we do to help?  

We should all be deeply concerned about the disappearance of bee colonies. If all of us did our part to help protect these beautiful creatures, the world would be in a much better place.

One of the challenges is knowing how we could do our part to save the bees.

A simple way is to support organizations like Project Honey Bees. This organization has a team of bee-lovers like myself who work to keep bees from going extinct. In addition, they work to support local bee farmers, increase the population of honey bees, and spread awareness. Project Honey Bees sells bee-themed merchandise that supports research at the University of California, Davis. Everyone who contributes can personally adopt a bee!

Other ways to protect honey bees is to spread awareness in your community, support local bee farms, plant a bee-friendly garden, and use organic gardening products. These are small actions you can take that can make a difference.

You can also become a beekeeper like me!

The important part is that we all do something so that future generations can live harmoniously with these creatures and prosper.