Local receives bee grant

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

World-wide, the honey bee population is seeing a crisis due to what has been dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s caused by the combination of natural diseases and commercial pesticides.

While honey bees are not native to the Americas, they are essential to modern agriculture. As part of a program to help mitigate the damage done by CCD, the Mississippi Rural Rehabilitation Corporation recently awarded Lincoln County beekeeper Byron Redd a $500 grant to improve his operation.

“I did lose one hive over the winter from what was told to me was that Colony Collapse Disorder,” Redd said. “My other two seem to be doing alright coming out of the winter.”

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Redd began beekeeping last year.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to try it for a long time,” Redd said. “My uncle had bees for about 40 or 50 years. I can remember growing up, all the hives he had. It’s just something I wanted to try, and I’m trying it. I love it. I wish I’d done it a long time ago.”

Not counting equipment, Redd said a new starting hive can cost between $100 and $150. Redd said the collapse of a hive in the winter could have actually cost him two hives.

“If it builds back up quick, and they normally will in the spring, it’ll get so full of bees that you can split it and create another small hive,” Redd said.

Redd said people who want to get into the beekeeping business really should contact another beekeeper for advice, but a bit of reading doesn’t hurt.

“Beekeeping for dummies,” Redd said. “That a really good book.”