By Sue Moore
For gardens and a third of our food to grow, honeybees need to keep on working, according to Charlotte Hubbard, who now has over two dozen hives in her apiaries in Schoolcraft and Three Rivers. She has written a book entitled Dronings from a Queen Bee: The First Five Years, which contains plenty of laughs, as well as some serious insights on beekeeping and life. Ideal for nature lovers, those who appreciate a gentle laugh, and anyone interested in hobby or insect, this full-color paperback is available for $10 at Hubbard’s business, Prima Communications, Inc. on Grand Street in Schoolcraft. The book will soon be available from her Web site, www.hubbardhive.com (a PDF requested from there is free), and at Amazon.com, in both hard copy and electronic format. All profits go to charities that feed the hungry in our community.
Hubbard is passionate about beekeeping, as she explained to the Vicksburg Rotary Club at its July meeting. “You can rid yourself of daily burdens by working with bees,” she contends. “Bees mess with your mind, but it’s a good kind of problem to have.” She believes that the colony collapse disorder that seems to have killed a large number of bees across the country over the last few years, has been largely caused by the chemical burden in the environment and by a lack of forage for bees. “Bees need a diverse diet, and when only corn and soybeans are planted over thousands of acres, they don’t get what they need to thrive.”
As many other beekeepers experienced, the winter of 2014 devastated Hubbard’s hives, with a 70 percent loss. She considers herself fortunate because others suffered higher losses or were wiped out completely. She has been able to replenish this precious inventory by purchasing bees from the South. “Bees need to be able to relieve themselves,” Hubbard explains, “The endless temperatures near zero didn’t allow them to get out during the winter days. The bees needed a few opportunities to answer nature’s call, to break their tight cluster, and to relocate in the hives where there was more honey. The prolonged, bitter cold was devastating.”
Hubbard’s bee hives are expanding well now, and she looks forward to teaching and sharing with others the magical world of this amazing insect.