Shreveport business brings beekeeping downtown - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport business brings beekeeping downtown

Bee hive on Agora Borealis' roof Bee hive on Agora Borealis' roof
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

You've probably heard that the honeybee population is disappearing at a record rate.

The insects' disappearance affects almost everything you eat. 

Agora Borealis in downtown Shreveport business is playing a part in saving the bees. A few months ago, Katy Larsen, the owner of the shop, got in contact with a local beekeeper, Brad Smoak, and started the process of bringing a bee hive downtown.

"They approached us and said they would really like to have an urban beehive, which hasn't been done in Shreveport before," said Katy Larsen, owner of Agora Borealis. "And I said, 'Hey, this a place of innovation and, of course, we're behind the concept as well. So let's do it'."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2007, beekeepers started to notice an unusually high loss of 30-90% of their hives. That number has dwindled a little in the past few years, but it's still a concern. This map shows the rates of bee loss by state from the 2015-2016 year here.

"The stats are, about 1/3 of our food comes from the bees' pollination," Smoak said. 

That's one of the reasons Larsen wanted to jump on board with this idea - and some people are starting to follow this trend.

"Everyone is really on trend with this. They know the importance, there have been lots of documentaries about it. I think that people were really excited. Especially seeing it downtown. I don't think that was something that first comes to mind, bee hive in downtown Shreveport," Larsen said.

The hive was officially installed about a month ago - and the bees have taken to their new home. They're the first spot downtown to start urban beekeeping. 

"Bees to an urban environment, to an urban setting like this starts the conversation. And it kind of goes hand in hand with the movement where people are buying their food at farmers markets. They want to know their local farmers. Buy locally. Buy local honey," Smoak said.

Four ways you too can help save the bees include: 

  1. Becoming a beekeeper, urban or rural
  2. Sponsoring a hive
  3. Hosting a hive; and
  4. Buying local honey

Smoak said if you see a swarm of bees, the best thing to do is stay calm.

"If they swarm just know you don't want to necessarily go up and give them a hug, but they're in their most calm state that you can find bees," Smoak said. "They're not going to sting you. The best thing you can do if you find bees like that, is to get in touch with a beekeeper who can remove those bees. You really don't want to call an exterminator."

To learn more about beekeeping, send an email to Smoak to smoakfarmshoney@gmail.com.

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