Posted at: 09/22/2011 11:11 PM by: Ben Dery
As fall turns the corner, it’s harvest time. It’s also the conclusion of the honeybee season. Tucked away in the woods near Esko is the house of John Skalko, and the home of his honeybee hives.
He’s been a beekeeper in the Northland for many years and he says it’s a passion he can’t quit.
“I actually lost track of how many I have,” Skalko says of his hives. “If I saw how many I have, my wife might not like it!”
In a small clearing in the woods lay more than a dozen boxes literally filled with bees. Skalko says there can easily be more than 50,000 bees in a single hive.
Although it’s late in the year, the bees are still very much at work. Bees are a necessary part of our food supply. it is estimated that one-third of a human’s entire diet is dependent on bees pollinating our fruits and vegetables.
“This is the only insect that is a benefit to man because it pollinates and it brings honey back,” Skalko said. “There aren’t any other insects that we use for food for man other than the honeybee.”
There was a concern a few years ago about the declining bee population. many blamed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). It’s an event that causes all worker bees to suddenly flee the hive causing the queen to fend for herself.
Bee viruses, extreme weather and pesticides have all been linked to collapsing colonies. Scientists are still looking for reasons for why bees would leave their nest so suddenly.
But there’s no shortage of bees at Skalko’s farm. there are just a few more weeks of work before the worker bees at Skalko’s get shipped off to warmer climates as fall ends and the long Northland winter sets in.
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