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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Beekeeping, Roberts, IL

Mr. Samuel Ebert was the subject of an "Along the Road" column in September of 1941. These columns focused on some aspect of rural life and are one of my favorite columns in the Pantagraph. It is a relief from the reporting about the "upper crust" of Bloomington society and gives us a peek into the lives of people who weren't typically noticed by the newspapers.

Samuel Ebert had been keeping bees since 1916 and in 1937 had 120 stands of bees!! He told the reporter that the hardest part of beekeeping was keeping the hives alive during the winter. In his worst year he produced only 8 tons of honey. In his best years he produced 18 tons of honey!

There are more than a couple of honey producers in McLean County, and although I don't know their rate of production, I am sure that it is nowhere near eight tons, nor are they able to maintain so many hives. With the proliferation of insecticides and herbicides that are killing the bee population, we are in danger of losing the pleasure of their sweet elixir, not to mention all the other essential services that bees perform in the course of their honey making. For instance, apples depend on bees, mostly honey bees, to pollinate their blossoms so that apples can grow. Almond producers bring in professional bee keepers and their hives to pollinate the almond trees. If the flowers of apple or almond trees aren't pollinated, the fruit does not grow. Imagine a world without apples or almonds! Many other fruits and vegetables are dependent on insect pollination for a good crop yield as well.

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