OGLE COUNTY( WREX) — Being a honeybee keeper is a hobby Jeff Ludwig says gives him the opportunity to help bees become the best they can.
“The bees have the knowledge. It’s up to the beekeeper to figure out what the bees need,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig is one of many beekeepers in Illinois that are adding to a rise in the hobby and farming.
Data from the Illinois Department of Agriculture says from 2000 to 2018, the number of registered honeybee keepers jumped from just over 1,000 to over 4,000 keepers.
“People have realized how important honeybees are” Ludwig said.
He’s passing his passion on to other people in the community.
“I just go out in my garden where all my bees are and just watch them come in and out, watching them bring in pollen and nectar and basically pollinating my garden and it’s very relaxing,” said new honeybee keeper Tom Clark.
“There has been a lot of growing interest in people wanting to prop-up the bee world and make sure there are pollinators for their gardens and orchards,” said Ludwig.
Beekeepers say beekeeping is not only a fun hobby but an important job that can help our community.
“They pollinate so much food. I think some estimates go as high as 35 to 40 percent of our food would be gone if we didn’t have some kind of pollinator” Clark said.
A pollinator keepers say they hope fewer people will be afraid of bees.
“Most of the bees now are really docile. The beekeeper doesn’t like to get stung either so the beekeeper tries really hard to get people not all stung up” said Ludwig
Beekeepers also say beekeeping allows them to make their own honey.