Meet The Beekeeper Behind Bee Rescue: Roda Shope!
In celebration of World Bee Day and our planet’s precious pollinators, Comvita is rescuing 5 Million bees by working with independent beekeepers across the US to safely relocate hives that have found their way into unwelcome areas. This interview is part of a series of introductions to get to know the lives and work of real, professional beekeepers. See what inspires them about their work, learn fascinating facts about bees, and life lessons the beehive can teach us.
Meet beekeeper Roda Shope (also known as @indigo.acres.apiary ), from Rockford, Michigan.
How long have you been beekeeping?
Since 2014, when I established Indigo Acres Apiary.
How did you get involved in beekeeping?
I have always had a passion for nature. With my camera and sketch pad in hand, I spent my childhood exploring the woods, chasing bees, and gardening with my dad. As a young adult, I continued to celebrate nature through storytelling, art, and photography. I shared these passions throughout my 20+ year career as an elementary educator. In 2014, I closed the door on my career in education and made my lifelong dream of becoming a beekeeper a reality. My love for education continues, as I share knowledge with others about the importance of pollinators and the plants that sustain them.
What do you love about beekeeping?
Beekeeping has brought me back to my 6 year old self. For over 40 years, I have been capturing these tiny creatures through art and photography. As a bee advocate, I feel blessed to be able to give back to the bees and thank them for a lifetime of inspiration.
What are your favorite facts about bees?
From egg to adulthood, it takes only 16 days for a queen bee to develop and emerge. After a new queen bee emerges from her queen cell, she will prepare for her mating flight. The young queen will mate with multiple drones 200-300 feet in the air!
What lessons have you learned from bees that are helpful in other areas of your life?
Over the years, bees have taught me to be patient and trust in the process. They consistently remind me that I am not in charge and everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that bees have been my greatest teacher, for I take the time to lean in, observe, and simply listen.
What advice or tips do you have for people who want to help bees where they live?
There are so many ways individuals can help their backyard bees:
- Plant bee friendly plants, shrubs, and trees. Select flowers that will provide blooms throughout the changing seasons. Remember, even if you have a small space, potted plants work well too.
- Please allow the dandelions to flourish! The dandelion is the perfect flower—no purchase required. All you have to do is let this wildflower grow. Dandelions are one of the first spring food sources for the bees. Please, let them live!
- Provide a shallow water source. The saucers used under garden pots work well for this. Submerge rocks half-way underwater to act as a landing pad. Your backyard water source will keep your local bees happy and hydrated.
- Avoid the use of pesticides. These harmful chemicals kill our beneficial insect population.
- Allow an area of your backyard to grow WILD! This natural space will provide a safe haven for many bees.