Pollinators in Minnesota are having a tough time right now. The Department of Natural Resources says habitat loss, pesticides and climate change have all contributed to the drastic population decline.
But now that spring is in full bloom and our gardens are picking up steam, some people are turning their backyards into bee paradises.
At Ames Farm in Watertown, it’s the buzzing of the bees that keeps beekeeper Brian Fredericksen on his toes day after day.
“When the sun comes up at 5:30 or 6 a.m., I know there’s something to do,” Fredericksen said.
In addition to running a honey business, he also rents out and maintains dozens of backyard beehives around the subway, spreading his passion for building bee lands.
“We can pet them quite a bit,” Fredericksen said.
Fredericksen says he saw an explosion of people moving further outside to get more land, then called him to install backyard bees – part of this slower-moving pandemic life that seems to be stopping.
“We bring the beehive. I’ll come visit you, make some honey from your property and teach you about bees,” Fredericksen said. “Last year I had a family in Wayzata in a wooded area by one of the bays on whose property we made 120 pounds of honey.”
Fredericksen says a bee crisis is brewing as their homes disappear. He’s doing his part by letting clover and wildflowers run wild on his 40-acre property, a luxurious home for millions of bees.
But he says you don’t have to be a beekeeper on a massive farm to make a difference.
“It’s the landowners who will solve this problem, the bee crisis,” Fredericksen said. “We have to give the bees some land, whether it’s ditches, backyards, everything fits together, everyone can do their part.”
Seasonal hive rentals cost a little over $1,200, but someone will maintain them for you. Ames Farm also offers beekeeping courses. Many tenants eventually become beekeepers themselves.
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