HBHC Part 3 - Pete Berthelsen, Habitat & Forage (S4, E13)


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Today, we pick up on the third installment of our exploration of the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s programs as we talk with Pete Berthelsen. Pete runs the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund, a non-profit organization working to improve the habitat for all bees and butterflies, anywhere people can make it happen. They have projects in 12 states and are looking to get as many more as they can. They work with the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), trying to get seed mixes used on these 24 million set aside acres more bee and butterfly friendly, among many other projects. That means working with and coordinating activities between the USDA, seed company organizations, farmers, commercial beekeepers and others. The CRP has been in place since 1985 and has been successful in improving the soil, water quality of the land rented from farmers so it can be improved. Mostly, however, it is planted to grasses, and not pollinator friendly habitat.

It’s no wonder then that he’s intimately involved with the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s Honey Bee Nutrition and Forage program. Focusing on pollinator health and habitat is what he does, every day. The 12 states his Bee and Butterfly projects are in are prime locations for commercial honey production, the monarch butterfly migration route and very productive agricultural land.

So, when all of the members of the HBHC sat down at the table – Ag Supply companies, conservationists, food producers and food buyers, commercial beekeepers, honey packers and a host of others – there was some uneasiness in the room. But as Pete puts it, to solve a problem as big as turning around modern agriculture, you have to be a lumper, not a splitter. All of the people involved have to be part of the solution. No one can advance at the cost of other’s moving down. And Pete is working to make this happen for all the bees and all the birds, and better soil and clean water.

Find out what more this arm of the Honey Bee Health Coalition is doing to improve the health of our honey bees, and butterflies, too.

First, though we talk with Zach Techner of Cascadia Venom Collection. Zach recently stopped by Jeff’s house to ‘collect’ a large Bald Faced Hornets’ nest and a smaller in-ground Yellowjacket nest. This time of year, beekeepers are typically the first to receive calls to remove ‘bees’… and they’re typically not honey bees but hornets. Zach talks with Jeff about his full-time business collecting hornets for labs who use the venom and provides some information all beekeepers should know about hornets.

It’s an exciting episode so listen today. If you like what you hear, subscribe/follow, leave a review and let all your friends know about Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:


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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

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