Relocate, don’t exterminate: Eagle teen is buzzing to save the beehives | VailDaily.com

Relocate, don’t exterminate: Eagle teen is buzzing to save the beehives

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

In celebration of National Honey Bee Day, Aug. 19, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy junior Reece Bell is buzzing to get the word out, "Relocate, not exterminate." The 15-year-old started a Facebook page, Eagle County Bees, with a mission to connect beekeepers, educators and those with nests or swarms who need assistance moving the bees, rather than destroying them.

She has become a junior member of several beekeeping organizations, including Northern Colorado Beekeepers Association, and would like to speak to elementary school children about the importance of bees because "it is never too early to learn about the environment and get them interested and informed about bees."

Although not a beekeeper, Bell has contacted the local 4H Club to help her disseminate information.

"My mom put up a post on Facebook for a beekeeper friend in Edwards who needed help with her bees, and several people responded saying they had nests or swarms they wanted to get rid of. I knew that there was a need to save the bees," she said.

Eagle County Bees has been shared on other pages and received "a lot of interest," according to Bell. She's had beekeepers respond that they are willing to help.

"I've had people who want to learn beekeeping, so I've contacted Colorado State University's Extension Program to ask them for help," she said.

Recommended Stories For You

They informed her there is a swarm hotline, and it is a good way for beekeepers to get new colonies. The Western Bee Keepers Association maintains the hotline in this area; the number is 970-812-0080.

'Bees are Essential'

"Bees are essential to our environment," Bell said and referred to a Netflix documentary "More Than Honey" and a pamphlet distributed by the National Union of French Apiculture, which quoted Albert Einstein, "If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live."

Quoting TED speaker Marla Spivak, Bell said, "More than one-third of the world's crop production is dependent on bee pollination."

"When I was researching bees, I also learned that in parts of China, so many chemicals were being used that hives were destroyed. Now the government hires workers to hand-pollinate flowers with paintbrushes," she said.

"Last year when an insecticide aimed to kill Zika-carrying mosquitoes killed millions of honeybees, it cast a somber lens on our future," Bell said. "I don't ever want to see that, even on a small scale, in Eagle County.

"What I'd really like to do now is have beekeepers and anyone with knowledge of bees contact me."

For more information or to contact Eagle County Bees, call 406-599-8644 or email eaglecountybees@gmail.com.