It seems that beekeepers in West Virginia have as much to learn from honeybees as they do each other. Beekeepers in the state are getting much more than honey; they are gaining knowledge and insights from their close-knit community.
In Summers County, West Virginia, Mark Lilly grew up watching his grandfather and relatives keep bees. Today, Lilly works as a master beekeeper for the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective, a non-profit that helps train beekeepers in economically depressed regions in West Virginia and Virginia. On a recent sunny day, Lilly showed me his honeybee hives. Against the backdrop of the steady hum of busy bees, he lifted the box of a hive to check his swarm’s honey production.
“This colony is doing real well building up for the spring. We're probably three weeks plus before the flow would hit,” Lilly said.