Dennis Arp: Importance of Honeybees and Other Pollinators
The workshop will cover the importance of honeybees and other pollinators in native plants, backyard gardens and in agriculture. Basic honeybee biology, including social structure and development, will be explained. The efforts of beekeepers to manage bee hives and the effect of public impact on keeping food sources available and safe, such as maintaining flowering plants adapted to the Verde Valley and curbing the use of pesticides, will also be explained.
Dennis lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is the owner of Mountain Top Honey, one of only a few full time beekeepers in Northern Arizona. Growing up on an Iowa farm, hunting with fellow teenagers, Dennis realized his interest in bees when they stumbled upon a hive. He tried to extract honey without success. What started as a hobby in 1978 turned into a passion and full time business in 1982. Starting with 120 beehives, a truck and trailer, the business has grown to an ever changing 800 to 1300 hives. Honey production from the Arizona locations has ranged from 30,000 to 126,000 pounds per year.
Dennis travels with his bees, doing his small part of the 1.8 million hives that pollinate the California Almond orchards in February and March. In late March the hives are transported back to Arizona for honey production in the Phoenix Sonoran desert areas during March, April and May. June and July finds the hives moved again to Winslow and Holbrook , and moved again, August- October to the Flagstaff area. The hives are moved again November- January to the Desert areas around Phoenix for the winter, and February back to California.