Welcome to BeeTree Honey STL! My name is Debbie; I’m a backyard beekeeper living and working in Missouri. I love keeping bees. I love talking about bees, I love learning about bees (mostly from them) and I love sharing what I've learned.
Keeping bees is what I decided to do when I realized the world was falling apart. I read news reports about climate change and pollution, but none of it seemed to be affecting me on a daily basis... until I started to look more closely. I realized I was seeing fewer and fewer insects. Where were the fireflies, the butterflies, the moths, the bees?
When I drove on the highway, maybe a few insects landed on my windshield, but nothing like in years past when you had to pull over to clean your windshield and grill.
Where did all the insects go?
When I started reading about US farming practices in 2007 I discovered a new vocabulary; habitat loss, pesticide overuse, monoculture farming. What could I do? What can a single person ever do to change the world?
I got really into my garden and planted pollinator friendly plants and vegetables. I wanted to keep chickens (my husband said no). I wanted to set up a worm farm in the basement. That idea didn’t go over so well, either. And then the stories about Colony Collapse Disorder made headlines. There was a Florida beekeeper, David Hackenberg, who lost over 50% of his bees. They had just disappeared...
But who cares about a few Florida bees disappearing? Well, honeybees pollinate Florida’s blueberry, cantaloupe, cucumber, honeydew, raspberry and watermelon crops—a 4 billion dollar industry. Honey bees pollinate over a third of the food we eat (and almost all my favorite foods). Imagine a world without honeybees!
So in 2007 I signed up for a town beekeeping class and in 2008 I started keeping bees in my backyard. It was a steep learning curve. I tried not to upset the neighbors. I also tried not to upset the bees! In 2011 the city needed access to our backyard for construction and I had to move the bees to a friend's property, which is where they now live.
Beekeeping has kept me alive. It is my anti-anxiety medication. It is my healing space. During Covid, it has proved to be all of these things and more. The bees can teach us so much. They are selfless, diligent and hard working. They've persevered despite our chemicals and monoculture. The least I can do is try and help them.
Oh yea, and then there's the honey!
I hope when you see me you will ask how my bees are doing. Looking forward to hearing from you.