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Under Rocks gets hives | Under Rocks podcast

Mike Lundgren

It’s a dance as old as humanity itself: Bees make honey, humans steal it. And for the most part, we get away with it with nothing more than an occasional sting. But over time, we’ve learned we must do more for the honeybee, which is propping up our fragile ecosystem. The Under Rocks team managed to get itself invited to peer into the process of stewarding bees and harvesting honey with Tim Benedict of Orion Organics. It’s his farm in Lee County where bees roam with the bison among the wildflowers of Nachusa Grasslands.

Mike Lundgren

On a mild August morning, the Under Rocks crew met up with Tim Benedict at his Franklin Grove home and business, Orion Organics. He bundled us up in the surprisingly light protective gear of the beekeeper, taped our pants to our boots, and led us to his hives, which by 10 a.m. had been buzzing with activity for hours.

Listen to the full podcast to hear just about everything you need to know about beekeeping, from feeding the Queen to bottling the honey.

Mike Lundgren

How can you help protect and feed honeybees and native pollinators in your own yard? Tim has some suggestions:
- plant as many native plants in your yard as you can, a mix that will flower throughout the seasons. Even a tiny patch helps!
- avoid spraying anything that flowers.
- resist the temptation to rip out the dandelions and clover: They provide some of the earliest food for the bees.
- provide a water source, preferably something they won't drown in.

Mike Lundgren

Thanks to Tim Benedict for his generosity with his time, knowledge, and honey. Thanks also to his family members and Orion Organics.

The Under Rocks team involved in this adventure were Dan Libman, Spencer Tritt, Mike Lundgren (great visuals, Mike!), and Susan Stephens.

No one was stung in the making of this podcast.

Got something you think deserves investigating by the Under Rocks podcast? Send your ideas to rocks@niu.edu or fill out the form at wnij.org/youask.

Under Rocks is a production of WNIJ and produced at Northern Illinois University with the help of our generous listeners.

Dan Libman is an author, teacher, correspondent, and adventurous host of the WNIJ podcast Under Rocks.
Spencer's creativity shows up in a variety of spaces on-air and online for WNIJ. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Communications and Digital Media Production. Spencer's interest in multimedia comes from a mix of his love for arts and music with an interest in technology.
Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.