Kluger Furs FS Sept5 – Oct 6 2019

A Flossmoor resident and his family are now the village’s first beekeepers.

An ordinance allowing beekeeping went into effect April 1.

Chris Bednarek, his wife and daughter are the first people in Flossmoor to keep beehives in their backyard. They also are the first and only residents to apply for a permit since the village board gave beekeeping the green light in February, Building and Zoning Administrator Scott Bugner said.

The twin apiaries at Chris Bednarek's home in Flossmoor are much more convenient than those they previously kept on land near Crete.. (Provided photo)
The twin apiaries that now sit behind Chris Bednarek’s home in Flossmoor are much more convenient than those they previously kept on land near Crete. (Provided photo)

Residents are allowed to keep up to two apiaries in their backyards as long as they follow village guidelines such as providing a site plan for each apiary, registering with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and passing an inspection.

The Bednareks have kept honeybees for nine years, originally keeping them in the Crete area. They’ve made a hobby out of harvesting honey and serving it to the people they know. But when the village board approved the beekeeping ordinance, applying “made a lot of sense,” Bednarek said.

“We’ve always been outdoor kind of people,” he said. “We’ve always been ones to recycle and to try to live sustainably.  And with the decline of the honeybee population and how integral [they are] to us being here and having a food supply, it seemed like something kind of cool to try out.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, bee pollination is responsible for one out of four bites of food people take. But for years, bee populations have seen a steady decline with the number of honeybee hives falling from 6 million in the 1940s to about 2.5 million today.

Bednarek has noticed an overall decline of the health and strength of honeybees he’s kept, noting how many of his honeybees didn’t make it past this years’ winter. 

“It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to maintain healthy hives from one season to the next,” he said. “It seems to be a combination of sporadic weather patterns, increased use of pesticides and herbicides, and an increase in parasites that have been hurting the bee population the most.”

Backyard beekeeping works to combat forces that are driving down the bee population, Bednarek said.  

And though the beehives are stationed in the Bednareks backyard, neighbors within a mile of their house could reap the benefits of having bees housed in the area.

“Generally, if there’s a beehive nearby where you live, your garden is going to do better, your flowers are going to look better because you have these natural pollinators around,” he said. “Though we personally don’t have an impact on the bees’ overall routine, we’re helping to keep the bee population strong in this area.” 

It’s exciting to be able to keep bees at home now, Bednarek said. 

“In the past, we’ve had to load up the car with all our equipment for a day out beekeeping,” he said. “Now we can just go out to the backyard to do our thing.”

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