Just about everyone enjoys eating, so just about everyone should see the importance of bees. At least, that is the logic behind beekeeper Lloyd (Junior) Snelson’s mentality when it comes to his hobby.
“Without bees, lots of things we eat everyday wouldn’t be here,” said Snelson.
He explained that bees pollinate fruit trees, vegetable plants and beautiful flowers — many of which wouldn’t exist without the help of bees.
“I was scared to death of them when I first got my start, but I was finally convinced. I started with just two hives and learned to love it and now I’ve got almost 60 hives,” said Snelson.
Snelson got started about 15 years ago with the help of one of his neighbors and a few fruit trees. He has come a long way as he is now the president of the Clinch Valley Beekeepers Association.
He recognizes that beekeeping is a dying art and hopes to pass it on through education and a wealth of knowledge with members of the CVBA.
“Last I heard, the average age of beekeepers is about 60. If anybody is interested, they should get a book and get a mentor and try to get as much help as they can to get started and be successful. Learn as much as you can before you get your bees,” said Snelson.
Snelsons work is hard, but sweet as he often spends many days with the bees, taking off supers or boxes where the bees store honey. Bees in the supers are calmed with smoke and the honey is taken out through a process known as extraction. It is bottled and enjoyed by consumers.
“I just get a lot of joy working with them. If I get out there and work with them and take my time, it gets my mind off a lot of things that are going on in our country today and I can forget about that for a while. It gives you peace to work with something like that,” said Snelson.
Snelson retired from the U.S. Postal service after delivering mail for several years.
He and his wife Jean live together in Claiborne County, Tennessee and have been married for 50 years.
More information can be found about the CVBA by visiting www.clinchvalleybeeclub.org.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.