New Beekeeper Helps to Bring Back Bee Population - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

New Beekeeper Helps to Bring Back Bee Population

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Imagine taking care of 6,000 insects...

that eventually multiply to 12,000...and later 60,000.

One man has begun to devote a lot of time caring for those black and yellow creatures that many of us may consider a nuisance.

Ken Will is a busy bee this summer working hard with what he calls "his girls".

...first he suits up..

Then he lights the smoker...

"Usually makes them a little more docile."

A good thing, considering his girls could sting him at any time.

"I kidded my wife when we got the first ones and were bringing that nucleus back from the apiary I said honey, I guess, pun intended, but you're no longer going to be the queen bee here," says Ken Will.

Ken is one of North Dakota's newest beekeepers.

"We have large gardens and we want to increase pollination," says Will.

So he brought the bees in to pollinate not only his gardens but ...his neighbors too...

"They were all pretty enthused about me keeping bees," says Will.

"I think it's really good. It's good for the environment. I think it's really good in terms of the way I handle my property because I'm trying to develop all of the brome into short grass prairie," Martin Marchello, Ken's Neighbor.

Standup: State bee inspector Samantha Brunner says it's not that North Dakota needs bees, but it's that the bees need North Dakota. The state provides a safe habitat for bees, allowing them to get away from harsh chemicals, poor forage, and diseases.

"They do well up here. Beekeepers love bringing their hives to North Dakota because there is a lot of forage for them," says Will.

Ken says bees are critical not just to the state, but the nation.

"Almost every crop you can think of, every produce you can think of is pollinated by bees. And of course the bee populations today are a fraction of what they were 30, 40, 20 years ago," says Will.

Even though Ken is just one person, he's helping to make a difference for these little industrious creatures.

"I'm very happy with the inspection of the hive today."

He says being a beekeeper is, well, the bees knees.

Will keeps Italian honeybees.

He chose that variety because they're known for their gentleness and are very hearty to the cold climate of North Dakota.

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