Bees

Stella Fong

Bees help food grow in our world. Their work in cross pollination bring forth the seeds to about one third the farmed crops in the world. In the last years, bee keeping has become abuzz under the Big Sky. The popularity is evident with the Yellowstone BeeKeepers with a membership evolving from a handful of members to now around 60. The group that meets at the Last Chance Cider Mill on the second Tuesday of each month is a wealth of resource for the seasoned beekeeper to the novice to someone who just wants to learn.

Professor Michelle Flenniken points to emerging adult bees in her lab at Montana State University, June 19, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Honey bees play a vital role pollinating many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we eat, and they’re an important part of Montana’s economy. But the number of bees dying each year is higher than it was two decades ago. A team of researchers are looking for solutions, ranging from new genetic clues to wildflowers.

As anyone who's read Winnie the Pooh will tell you, bears love honey. But in Montana, that love of honey and hives comes at a cost. Every year, a handful of black bears are shot and killed by beekeepers across the state. And while it’s perfectly legal, some think the law needs an update.