Honeybees: Minnesota Company Vows To Help Save The Little Pollinators

Honeybees just may have a new hope for survival, courtesy of a little company that could. Minnesota residents Betty and Jack Thomas were hobby beekeepers for three decades before coming up with an idea to help score scarce supplies for both themselves and their peers – thwarting Colony Collapse Disorder(CCD) in the process.

Jack Thomas decided to start a beekeeping supply business as a cottage industry near the lake where he and Betty live in Hackensack. The little honeybee business blossomed as quickly as a well pollinated flower. Mann Lake Limited is now often regarded as royalty on the queen bee scene.

Researchers, beekeepers, and environmentalists first noticed the rapidly disappearing honeybee population in 2006. Since bees pollinate at least 70 percent of the food we eat to survive, Colony Collapse Disorder should be a common phrase used on the nightly news, but it is not.

Honeybees typically gather closely around the queen bee and feed off of honey stored in the hive throughout the winter. When the winter is particularly harsh and long, some bees are forced to leave the cluster to look for food – and never return. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, neonicotinoids are often blamed for a nervous system disorder which prevents the bees from being able to navigate properly and find their hives.

The California drought also caused a significant loss of honeybees in the state which can usually be counted upon to resupply beekeepers in the spring. Many Iowa beekeepers are now ordering replacement honeybees from Georgia due to the lack of stock in California.

Jack and Betty Thomas had this to say about their motivation and doing their part to help save the bees:

“We employ more people than live in Hackensack. When you are a hobby beekeeper you start out with the equipment which we make. Now you need bees to put in that equipment. Always in the back of the mind is: What else can we do? Where can we expand? What new products can we come up with? The bees, that’s what it’s all about.”

In early May, millions of honeybees embark on a non-stop 30-hour trip from California to Mann Lake in Minnesota. They arrive on pallets filled with 2,000 wooden crates. Each of the crates contains a queen bee and 15,000 worker bees. The pollinators generate so much heat, the semi trucks containing the bees have to be refrigerated in order to keep them alive during the long journey.

Mann Lake Limited currently employees 350 people who make food for bees to eat during the off-season, hives, and other various items necessary for beekeeping. The Minnesota couple hopes that the business they started helps give the honeybees a fighting chance for survival. Having no children of their own, Jack and Betty have turned the beekeeping business over to their employees to make sure their vital Colony Collapse Disorder project continues long after they are gone.

[Image Via Bing]