It's summertime at its highest and for JCFF Vice President, Jimmy Carmack, that means honey season is at its highest too. Jimmy, a Center Point native, tends to his bees at various locations close to his home. With nearly 200 hives, summer is the time when Jimmy is focused on prepping for winter and making sure his bees are in good health, all while still producing what's left of his honey.
Generally, a full size colony can include about 60,000 bees. That is a lot of bees to care for, but the number is just right for an experienced bee keeper like Jimmy, though, he is used to the workload. In fact, he says, "Bees are a lot like cows. You can only have so many bees in a pasture just like you can only have so many cows per acre to properly care for them." However, that 60,000 number can drop once winter arrives.
With so much knowledge learned over the years, Jimmy reflects back on what peeked his interest in beekeeping. He recalls catching bees as a child and almost ironically, getting stung. He proceeds to remember after graduating trade school, he worked with a beekeeper who then introduced and unknowingly began educating Jimmy about beekeeping.
Through the Sears Department Store catalogs, that then sold beekeeping supplies, and the occasional conversations with his coworker, Jimmy's interest in beekeeping started to gradually grow. In 1973, it became a reality when he purchased his first group of bees from Sears. They were shipped from Georgia to Jimmy's home.
Through the years as Jimmy learned and became an expert beekeeper, he joined ALFA in 1999 and the Jefferson Count y Farmers Federation board later in 2004. Through this, Mr. Carmack became heavily involved in the beekeeping and instrumental in creating the commodity committee. Now he is assists homeowners in removing swarms, cans honey, educates children, and is the vice president of the Federation board. So what does Jimmy say to those who have a strong hatred or fear of bees? "If you're scared," he begins, "and not sure you can get past that, don't swat or swing at them. The best course is just to walk away calmly, because they are just curious creatures."
Bees are an essential part to our everyday lives. They pollinate our crops and provide many different types of honey. You can plant for bees and provide a water source. For more information about what you can do to help your pollinators, visit www.pollinatorpartnership.org.