“It was the biggest hive I’ve ever seen,” says beekeeper Brandon Delcambre, about what he and his wife Kimberley uncovered in West Asheville during a hive relocation for their business, Couple of Bees. “I’m about 6’1”, and I was standing next to it — It had to be at least 7 feet tall. It’s been there for at least 10 years.”
“To everyone out there, please don’t mow off white clover flowers if you can possibly avoid doing so. Your own life depends on bees.”
Beekeepers in the United States experienced an estimated 40 percent loss in their colonies between April 2017 and April 2018, and last year, North Carolina’s honeybee population experienced a 50 percent loss, no doubt impacting the state’s $84 billion agriculture industry.
Willey says people started gravitating to the project as soon as he started to work. “I’d turn around as I was painting, and there’d be a grandfather and a young girl with face piercings that didn’t know each other until they started talking about bees,” he says. “There was this connection that was happening.”
On April 24, the media center at Claxton Elementary School on Merrimon Avenue swarmed with students celebrating the school’s third annual Bee Day.
Project Genesis is a pioneering longitudinal study that is mobilizing more than 150 volunteers to study and collect data on the health of 20 research bee hives in West Asheville. Project founder Carl Chesick hopes to gain insight into the factors that are endangering the survival of honeybee colonies.
“What is the effect to our systems and general health?”
It’s National Honeybee Day this Saturday, Aug. 20, and in spite of the threats facing honeybee populations in many areas, the Asheville-based Friends of Honeybees wants to celebrate. Taking its name from the familiar quote from Mahatma Gandhi, FOHB’s new “Bee the Change” campaign plans to donate a portion of its income to other non-profit causes, whether or not they relate directly to honey bees.