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by John Russell, August 11, 2017


John Russell is V.P. of the Red River Apiarists Association and Proprietor of The John Russell Honey Company



Honey is a delicious staple for many of us, and is a common ingredient in our cooking and baking.

The most famous and popular product of the bees, honey often overshadows the most important job the bees do for humans, and that is to pollinate our fruit trees, crops and flowers.


When the number of honeybees first started  to decline, our first thoughts turned to  how expensive honey will be, but the facts encompass more than this. Less pollinators mean fewer yields on most grown crops, such as melons

 tree fruit, squash, cucumbers, sunflowers, buckwheat, canola, raspberries, and the list goes on and on. Less yields means higher prices at your grocery store and less food security for everyone.


Bees need our support more than ever. The climate is changing and the weather is causing problems in most produce growing regions. If we don’t ensure that our pollinators are protected, healthy, and hard at work, we can expect our fruits and vegetables to keep increasing in price, and our gardens to produce less for our pantries.

For most people, this is when the plight of the bees really hits home.


One of the first questions I’m asked now is “How are the bees?”  News articles, television reports, and even short films have been produced to bring the message home to us. Most of the public is concerned and wants to help in some way, but may not know how.


To help protect the bees, we started a bee rescue program that removes honeybee swarms from residential property and also relocates bumblebee colonies to a sanctuary we have built and maintain.

So far this year we have captured 17 honeybee swarms from the City and relocated 23 bumblebee nests.

We educate the public on the value of pollinators as we take care of their “bee problems” and

although we charge a small fee for relocating bumble bees, we take care of honey bees free of charge.

The honey bees we quarantine and establish in commercial beehives, using them to assist in mentoring new beekeepers and building them up to strength to survive our long cold winters.

The bumblebees we save will generate up to 8 new queens that will start 8 new colonies of pollinators the following season.


What can you do to help?



1)   If you see a swarm of honey bees or a nest of bumble bees, please don’t spray them with water or insecticides!  Call us and we can deal with them, or inform you of how you can safely co-exist. 



2)  Plant pollinator friendly plants in your gardens and window boxes. Email us at honeyb@mymts for lists of plants that do well in this growing region. 



3)   Support local beekeepers! Buying local honey and honey products keep bee keepers in business and taking care of their bees! Buying cheap off shore honey puts more strain on the environment.


Every little bit helps! Changing the awareness and the attitude of our communities can bring great change! If we all do our part to help protect and support the pollinators, they can grow from endangered to thriving sooner than we think.


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