Beekeeping: A hobby that benefits the environment - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Beekeeping: A hobby that benefits the environment

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One of the 20 beehives at STG Farms in Sadler, Texas. (KTEN) One of the 20 beehives at STG Farms in Sadler, Texas. (KTEN)
One of the 20 beehives at STG Farms in Sadler, Texas. (KTEN) One of the 20 beehives at STG Farms in Sadler, Texas. (KTEN)
Bees provide a vital service in pollinating plants and flowers. (KTEN) Bees provide a vital service in pollinating plants and flowers. (KTEN)

SADLER, Texas -- A scientific study stretching over 27 years in Germany revealed there has been an 82 percent decline in the "flying pollinator" population, which includes bees.

A University of Maryland report found that U.S. beekeepers lost one-third of their bee colonies in 2016-17.

"That's one of the reasons that we got into the beekeeping business," said Byron Compton, owner of STG Farms.

He and his wife have been keeping bees for five years now.

"As we learned more about it, we just became in love with it: keeping the bees, watching them grow and work, harvesting the honey," Compton said.

They encourage others to follow their lead.

"The Texas Beekeepers Association -- we're a member of that -- they've got a saying they would like to have 30,000 beekeepers with two hives rather than two beekeepers with 30,000 hives," Compton said.

Having more beekeepers spread across the state helps keep the hives diverse. It also helps to fight against bees dying due to disease in a certain area, a lack of pollen, or farmers using pesticides.

So how do you get started?

"Find a local bee club," Compton advised. "Grayson County has a beekeepers association; Cooke County has one; Fannin County has one. There's Texas Beekeepers Association, the statewide organization. Go to those sites, go to those clubs, and start to talk to other beekeepers."

The Comptons currently have 20 beehives.

"Sixty to eighty-thousand bees in a hive," Byron Compton said. But they aren't stopping there.

"We're going to expand again this year and probably go up to 30 or 35," he said.

STG Farms is doing its part to repopulate the bees one hive at a time, while providing the community with fresh, local honey.

"They like it. That's why we can't keep it around hardly, because we've got too many customers that want the local stuff," Compton said. "Nearly all of our customers want it ... for the health benefits, for allergies. They'll have a jar or two of ours over a course of two or three months, and their allergies will just be gone, because you've got the local pollen that's affecting your allergies. It's in the honey, and as you slowly take that in, you develop a better immune system to fight off the allergies from the pollen in the air."

But you'll have to wait a few months before you can find fresh, local honey.

"We harvest late August, early September, and that's the only time you're going to get honey," Compton said. "You just won't get it much before that, because that's when they've done all the collecting."

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