Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Pigeon Mountain Trading Company of LaFayette is literally as busy as a bee this May, shipping nearly 2,000 packages of bees all over the continental United States.
Preorders for spring bee season were taken this past December for the 3-pound wooden crate packages of up to 10,000 bees. Unfortunately, if consumers haven’t preordered bees for this season, Pigeon Mountain Trading Company is sold out.
“We work around the clock for bee season, putting in up to 18-hour days,” said Shelly Mathis, beekeeping specialist at Pigeon Mountain Trading Company.
The full-service beekeeping supply store has been in business for five years and Mathis said this year has been unbelievable because more people are planting their own gardens and realizing the importance of honeybees. Mathis said 99 percent of beekeepers are individuals.
“It’s natural, people are getting back to the way it used to be,” she said.
The success of all fruits and vegetables relies heavily on honeybees for pollination and farmers often bring in bees for just that, resulting in a better-quality product, Mathis explained.
According to the American Beekeeping Federation, approximately one-third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honeybee pollination.
“Our survival is so dependent on their survival,” Mathis said.
But beekeepers have a not so sweet situation on their hands: colony collapse disorder.
CCD is as mysterious as it is deadly. Adult bees disappear from the hive, often leaving behind the queen, food and immature brood. Bees aren’t found dead in or around the hive — they’re simply gone.
“No one has an answer to the cause. We lose colonies every year and it’s unexplainable,” Mathis said.
CCD has been linked to pesticides and high-voltage cellphone towers, but there is still not a definitive answer to this ongoing problem.
Honey season this year is ideal due to the early spring. Honey contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds, which act as a natural antibiotic and can even help with allergies, Mathis said.
“What you get from honey is the pollen from trees of that area. These antibodies in small doses helps with allergies,” Mathis explained.
Pigeon Mountain Trading Company receives 10-50 calls daily with questions or concerns or from those who just want to learn about beekeeping. The employees give free advice and encourage people to contact them. Mathis said they have walked hundreds through beekeeping.
“We offer that assistance for people because it’s important to us and we take pride in that,” she said. “Even as an experienced beekeeper I learn something new every season, that’s what sets up apart. I strive to learn new things to keep my customers successful in their beekeeping.”
Catch the Buzz
Pigeon Mountain Trading Company is located at 106 N. Duke St. in LaFayette. Call the business at 706-638-1491, visit http://www.pigeonmountaintrading.com/ or email Shelly Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For those interested in beekeeping Mathis recommends joining a local beekeeping organization. The NWGA Beekeeping Organization meets the second Monday of every month at the Walker County Agricultural Center at 7 p.m.