Encore Magazine August 2021

Page 30


Isaac Hoelle

Backyard Beekeeper I

his holiday gift money from his grandparents to buy bees and supplies and set up a hive in the backyard of his family's home. In addition to knowing a lot about the insects through beekeeping, Hoelle has learned a few life lessons as well; he lost his bees this year, likely due to parasitic varroa mites, and had to start over with a new queen and bees in June. "I was disappointed to lose my bees," he says, “but I felt OK very soon after because I know that this stuff happens. I was elated to get more bees and to be helping the pollinators again." (continued on page 29)

Brian Powers

n her 1988 book, A Book of Bees … and How to Keep Them, author Sue Hubbell — born and raised in Kalamazoo — wrote, “Buying a hive of bees is, in some ways, like buying an Irish Setter puppy; it changes one’s life.” This is certainly true for Isaac Hoelle, a 12–year–old beekeeper who just finished sixth grade at Portage Central Middle School. Isaac's foray into the apiary world began in elementary school when he was introduced to beekeeping through a summer program at Portage Public Schools. He was so enamored with beekeeping, he saved