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2/5/2018 5:01:00 PM
The buzz on Indiana's booming bee business
A native bee in a bee cocoon. Photo provided by Heather Harvey
+ click to enlarge
A native bee in a bee cocoon. Photo provided by Heather Harvey

Emma Ea Ambrose, Journal and Courier

LAFAYETTE — For years, decades actually, alarm bells have been sounding in scientific communities regarding the United States’ falling bee population.

Scientists blame everything from disease-spreading mites to overuse of pesticides to depletion of natural habitats for the decline of bee populations. Many scientists and beekeeping enthusiasts, like Tim Caldwell, owner of Indy Bee Supply out of Indianapolis, think it’s a combination of many different factors.

Regardless the cause, an exhausted bee population can have a severe impact on the environment, agricultural landscapes and food supply, Caldwell said.

But there is good news. Across the country and throughout Indiana people are finally starting to heed warnings about declining bee populations and they’re starting to do something about it, whether they live in the country or in the city and whether that means beekeeping or just cultivating enticing habitats for bee populations.

This recent interest in beekeeping has also resulted in an uptick in bee-related businesses throughout the state, many founded by long-time bee keeping enthusiasts.

Jeff Singletary and his partner, Richard Walton, started keeping honey bees over a decade ago. Today they have 80 hives and own RJ Honey, a business that sells honey as well as beekeeping supplies and equipment.

“We just got carried away,” Singletary said.

He said with the advent of social media more and more people have been hearing about the bee crisis which, for some, eventually translates into a desire to help the endangered pollinators.

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