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For the Love of Beekeeping: One Alaska Lawyer’s Story

January 19, 2016

When most people think of bees, they think of harmful pests. They swat at them, run away, or avoid them altogether. For me, bees are welcome guests. Each spring I spend time welcoming new bee colonies to my hives, and in the late summer months I enjoy extracting the honey from my beehives. My beekeeping hobby gives me time in nature—time to reflect, relax, and enjoy my surroundings.

My fondness for honey bees stems from my grandfather’s love of keeping bees back in Texas where I grew up. My grandfather would always bring my family jars of honey with the comb on top when I was young, and I was so curious about the process. Forty-five years ago, as a novice lawyer in Texas, I bought my first colony, which quickly turned into three colonies. As I learned about the inner workings of each colony, I became more and more invested in the health of the hive. To this day, I find myself getting pretty attached to the bees each season and enjoying each year in a new way.

Beekeeping in Alaska

When I moved to Alaska 25 years ago, I learned that beekeeping here is much different from beekeeping in other parts of the country. Due to the long and harsh winters of Alaska, bees cannot survive after their summer harvest like they do in other, warmer parts of the world. Therefore, beekeepers in Alaska must order packaged bees in the winter months for spring delivery. Colonies begin with 10,000 to 20,000 bees and grow throughout the season to reach a size of about 50,000 bees. Each colony can produce an average of 30 pounds of honey in one season, though production is dependent on many different factors: weather, rain levels, hive placement, and pesticide exposure—to name just a few.

Beekeeping is so important to our home state of Alaska because bees do have such a hard time surviving on their own in our harsh climate and because they play such an important role in pollinating crops. While wild bees do the majority of pollinating in warmer climates, domesticating honey bees in Alaska allows for a good concentration of honey production and helps with pollination. By bringing the bees back each spring, we give our local crops and plants greater opportunity for growth and germination, and we maximize local, organic honey production to fuel the local economy.

Fueling My Passion

For me, beekeeping is a lot like working a case for one of my clients. It takes a lot of time, concentration, and tweaking as the season unfolds. As the make-up of each colony of bees changes throughout the season, I may have to change my hive location for better production or add new queens to replace those that have left the colony. Without careful attention to the details of my colony, my bees may not flourish and honey production may suffer. My honey bees keep me on my toes and fuel my passion for continued learning. Just like my honey bees require me to work hard, be attentive, and be flexible, I strive to work the same way for my clients.

When Injury Takes Over

Just like me, many of my clients have hobbies that they enjoy from day-to-day or week-to-week. When an unexpected injury takes place, their lives are turned upside down. Their hobbies become a distant memory—and they are entitled to seek compensation for that loss in their quality of life. As a personal injury lawyer, I have helped many clients fight for the compensation they deserve in order to get their lives back and get back to enjoying the everyday again. If you’re in need, contact me for more information about how we can work together to get you the help and restitution you deserve.

Reference:

The decline of bees. (2015, September 6). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/09/economist-explains-2

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