By Eva Moore
Dave Griggs, president of the SC Mid-State Beekeepers Association, wants to improve the perception of beekeeping among farmers in South Carolina.
“It’s not just something hippies and retirees do,” he says. “I have friends that are farmers, but farmers sometimes view beekeeping in that light.”
Griggs says there’s a misconception among some farmers that honeybees are only important to crops like cucumbers and cantaloupes for which the European honeybee is a vital pollinator.
In fact, honeybees pollinate a wide variety of crops, and can increase yields even in some crops that don’t require pollinators. What’s more, pollinators of all sorts are part of a healthy ecosystem.
The nonprofit SC Mid-State Beekeepers Association is one of several local beekeeping chapters in South Carolina. The local chapters offer educational events, including beginner beekeeping classes. There’s also a state group, the South Carolina Beekeepers Association.
But Griggs says farmers don’t have to keep bees or join an organization to benefit from local beekeepers. He urges farmers and landowners to reach out to their local beekeeping organization if they’d like to have hives placed near their fields, or simply if they have questions about bees. Organizations can also connect people with beekeepers who will remove swarms from their property.
And it’s important for farmers to communicate with area beekeepers about pesticide application schedules to keep bees healthy.
“We have members all over. If there’s a farmer who says, ‘I’d like someone to put hives on my property,’ or ‘I want to meet with someone,’ we’ll do that. We want to raise awareness of bees,” he says.Source : sc.gov