DETROIT – If you've ever been stung by a bee, you might be scared of them to this day. In today's Your Neighborhood, one local nonprofit is helping to take the fear away and educate students about why we really need honeybees. On Detroit's east side, the city is a buzz with literally hundreds of thousands of bees. Detroit-based nonprofits Detroit Hives has several honey bee colonies.
"We work to create sustainable communities and bee populations by transforming vacant lots into educational apiaries and pollinator friendly spaces," said Timothy Jackson, co-founder of Detroit Hives.
Detroit Hives keeps the beehives in colorful boxes. This late in October is too cold for the majority of the bees to venture outside the colony. Still, this space is used to educate students about the vital role these bees play in our ecosystem year round.
"Bees are often misunderstood," said Jackson. "They're crucial pollinators. They're responsible for one third of the foods that we eat today."
Jackson and his partner, Nicole, repurposed the lot where Detroit Hives is located when they heard two years ago that the city had so many vacant and abandoned properties. They wanted to provide a unique experience for Detroit, and that's how Detroit Hives was born.
"Nicole and I put two things together, and let's try and bring local, raw honey to the city to address several issues centered around food security, help our pollinators and educate the youth about bees,” said Jackson.
"Let me ask you this. You ever been stung by a bee?” asked Local 4’s Evrod Cassimy.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said. “That's part of the job. I say you're not a beekeeper unless you've been stung at least one time!
“How many times have you been stung?” asked Evrod.
“I've been stung six times all my face," Jackson said. "Bees, they don't have a desire to just go out and sting you. All they want to do is cross pollinate our flowers, our plants and our fruits. The only time a bee will get threatened is if we go inside of those hives. Most cases we don't wear a lot of protective gear on us. We feel that much comfortable around the bees. We've hosted over 500 tours here and no one has ever been stung at our been farm, our apiary nor in the community."
For the past two years, Jackson and Nicole have dedicated themselves to Detroit Hives full-time. They now have nine locations across the city of Detroit as they continue to educate and show others that Detroit is the place to be. Detroit Hives gives tours for classes and students, and yes,is has beekeeper suits available.