The plight of pollinators is known and becoming increasingly critical. Today I want to introduce you to a woman who has a vast amount of knowledge regarding bees and is sharing her wisdom with the world through her website Honey Bee Suite.
Her name is Rusty Burlew.
When Rusty began her website, Honey Bee Suite, she wanted to provide a source of science-based information that was easily accessible. In an industry that is replete with ‘wives’ tales,’ Rusty’s website is a go to resource for beekeepers both, experienced and beginner.
Since starting Honey Bee Suite, Rusty has expanded the subject of beekeeping to include all things that go along with it, including plants, bloom times, weather patterns, predators, and environmental problems like pollution and pesticides. She points out that Beekeepers accumulate vast knowledge of the natural world and, in that way, are able to appreciate as well as benefit from the interplay between plants and insects.
Rusty has a very thoughtful and holistic approach to beekeeping which I hadn’t heard before. She recommends that every beginner should start their beekeeping journey by reading and studying bee biology, which makes perfect sense! This is a different approach from most beekeeping classes which start by teaching the mechanics, tools, etc. of beekeeping. Most important though, she advises using common sense, drawing upon the knowledge you already have, and simply breathing and staying present to help you most when you are tending to a box of 50,000 bees!
As we hear more about honey bee populations diminishing, we sometime forget or don’t know about all the other bees in our environment that also help with pollination but who are also suffering. There are 4,000 species of bee in North America and 20,000 world-wide. Rusty is passionate about identifying and helping wild bees and points out that we often think about pollinator in terms of our food supply but may forget that these pollinators tend to many different flowering plants including ones that provide us with wood, fiber, medicines, flavoring, animal feed, and meadows! Even seeds that birds and other animals are dependent on come from flowers that are pollinated by bees
I really appreciate Rusty’s pragmatic and kind approach to caring for bees and quelling people’s fear of bee stings. Quoting CDC reports, Rusty shares that 33,000 people die every year from vehicle accidents whereas 50 Americans dies every year from bee, wasp, and hornets combined. So rather than fear them when you see a bee, simply stay still since bees are attracted to movement so swatting the air will only attract more bees. And Rusty reminds us to embrace bees as we need them to survive!
I hope that in listening to this interview you will learn more about bees, keep a flower pot on you porch, and take a moment to observe the incredible symbiotic relationships that surround us.