Over the past decade, we’ve seen an alarming decrease in the number of bees and experts aren’t exactly sure why. Without bees, nearly 75% of our fruits, nuts and vegetables wouldn’t make it to the table. But a group of backyard beekeepers on the Central Coast are doing their part to protect area hives.
“The bees benefit my flowers and the flowers benefit from the bees so I keep it small, I’m strictly backyard,” said Susan Bettencourt who owns Garden Farms Nursery where she grows and sells heirloom irises.
And with the help of a local group, she turned to bees for help pollinating her fruit trees and flowers.
She says while bees can and do sting, most people are more afraid than they need to be.
“People’s biggest misconceptions are that the bees just want to sting you or go after you, and that’s not true at all. I’ve gone down and hand-weeded and they’ve been in my face and all around and not bothered me at all,” said Bettencourt.
Backyard beekeepers like Bettencourt may be part of the answer to a dwindling bee population.
“Well about 2005, 2006 I started to see lots and lots of dead bees and that really alarmed me,” said Casey.
Abbott has been in the beekeeping industry for more than a decade. He’s also part of the Central Coast Beekeepers’ Alliance – a group formed to educate and support local beekeepers.
The group holds educational seminars and tries to make sure the local bee population is thriving even helping to generate interest in a whole new generation of beekeepers.
Erin Deak is a local college student studying biology. When she moved to the central coast for school, she brought her bees with her.
“It’s just kind of getting more around, as far as word of mouth… we’ve been able to inform the public more about bees and everyone is getting more interested in it,” said Deak.
With increasing interest, the future may be a little brighter for the prolific pollinators. You can get more information about the group by visiting their website.