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Beekeeping on the Golf Course By Kelsey Wentling, Intern


e’ve all danced with bees. In fact, you can probably even picture your last tango with a bee: the oh-so-familiar scene of black and yellow blur buzzing around your head as you casually try to side-step it somehow, while internally panicking and planning your next move. Rarely in our bee-boogies do we stop to watch bees or consider the pivotal role they play in keeping us alive. Bees feed us. They pollinate our crops so that we can eat, and without them we’re in big trouble. Don Cross of Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois has been watching bees for three years now. And he is intrigued. After discovering a feral hive just off the course, Cross started watching the bees and, “in the meantime... got interested, fascinated.” “I just think it’s amazing learning about how a bee goes about its whole life cycle. It’s very interesting how just after it’s born they hatch and have certain tasks already,” Cross said.

However, throughout the past few years, beekeepers have watched as our little, buzzing dance partners decrease in drastically in number, due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Although there are many speculations on the causes of CCD, no single element has been attributed blame for the collapse of so many colonies across the nation. Speculated causes of CCD include natural factors (such as the weather and mites) or human interaction with colonies (such as pesticides and habitat loss). “There’s been a nationwide, very significant decline in honeybee population over last several years, but for many years, recently, there’s been real concern about the population in general disappearing,” explained Cross. “One day have colony of bees, next day be gone.”

Beekeeper at Skokie Country Club

As the superintendent Cross has promoted sustainable practices throughout the property and as a part


Profile for Audubon International

Stewardship News | Volume 17, Issue 4 | Fall 2014  

Stewardship News | Volume 17, Issue 4 | Fall 2014