New Times: What is the purpose of beekeeping?
Rose: There are two general purposes. The first is to provide pollination services to farmers, usually almond farmers; the second is to make honey. Beekeepers will sell it in bulk to honey packers, or at a local scale.
New Times: Apparently, bees in the United States are vanishing. Why do you think this is happening?
Rose: What I’ve seen is that there are parasitic mites that kill the bees. These mites have been a problem for 20 years and it’s getting worse. The mites transmit 20 different viruses. In the last two years, another internal parasite called Nosema has emerged.
New Times: Have you ever covered yourself in bees?
Rose: I’ve always wanted to try that, but I never have.
New Times: How often are you stung? Are you used to it by now?
Rose: Typically whenever I go out and work with the bees I expect to be stung a few times on my hands. It’s true that after you’ve worked with bees for a little while your body actually gets used to the stings. After about a year your body stops swelling from bee stings.
New Times: How many bees are normally kept in an apiary?
Rose: There are two ways to count it. The number of bees that live in a hive is between 20,000 and 50,000. There are usually between 25 and 500 hives in an apiary. You can’t have too many hives in one spot because the bees won’t make any honey.