Kim Flottum, Bee Culture Editor and Honeybee Expert – Honeybees and Beekeeping

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Kim Flottum, Honeybee Expert and Bee Culture Editor

Occupation: Kim is the editor of Bee Culture magazine, published by the A. I. Root Company, in Medina, (northeast) Ohio. Once the largest manufacturer of supplies for beekeepers and the largest honey processor in the U.S., they have moved away from their beekeeping origins and focused on making candles — certainly a logical move considering all the beeswax they were involved with.

Today, Bee Culture has international exposure and covers the practical side of keeping honey bees, whether one or two colonies in your backyard or urban rooftop, or managing them by the hundreds or thousands. Plus, they look at the current honey market, the politics of the industry, working with kids and bees. Mostly though, the magazine is full of how-to-be a better beekeeper, whether a brand new beginner, or a seasoned backyarder. 

Background: Kim was introduced to honeybees and beekeeping while studying and working at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, first with an Extension Entomologist studying fruit, vegetable, turf and greenhouse insect pests, and then moving to the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab in Madison. His research looked at crop pollination, and the interactions of pesticides and honey bees.  After four years there he applied what he knew and farmed for a couple of years out east in Connecticut, running a 50-acre apple orchard and row crop vegetable operation, plus he got involved with the dairy and poultry part of the farm, too.

Since taking over the helm of the magazine, Kim has worked with a variety of beekeeping organizations. He was President of his local club, the Medina County Beekeepers for over a dozen years, served as Vice President and then President of The Ohio State Beekeepers for another dozen years, and has been Director, President and Chairman of the Board of the Eastern Apicultural Society, the largest regional beekeeping organization in the U.S.

While Editor, Kim has written three books on the science, craft, business and philosophy of keeping bees. There’s the Backyard Beekeeper, an introductory book that specializes in using lighter and smaller equipment so more people can keep bees, an dintrodcues all sorts of ways to help bees fight pests and predators without resorting to chemical treatment for mites and diseases. His Honey Handbook looks at managing, producing, harvesting, and processing artisan and varietal honeys, and his newest work, Better Beekeeping, out in July 2011, looks at keeping bees away from pesticides, growing enough good food for bees, and reducing the rigors of winter and pests so that both bees, and beekeepers thrive.

Projects: At work Kim is updating the ABC & XYZ Of Beekeeping, the industry bible on beekeeping information, and doing the same for Honey Bee Pests, Predators and Diseases, another excellent reference book for both scientists and regular beekeepers. Both have won Gold Awards in International competition at Apimondia meetings.

Today, there’s another book in the works, and he and his wife Kathy sheppard several traditional 8 and 10 frame hives, plus a top bar hive, and an Omlet hive called a Beehaus. And then there’s the chickens, the garden and two observation hives in town they manage that take up all that spare time.

Kim wrote a blog for a few years at The Daily Green, called The Beekeeper, about bees, beekeeping, urban bees, and Colony Collapse Disorder. That material is still there though the blog is no longer active. He has dipped his toes in Facebook and Twitter, but hasn’t jumped in completely yet — give him time, he’ll get there. And this summer he is picking up where his blog left off by providing updated information on a blog for the magazine. You can find past work on the Bee Culture magazine’s web page, and sign up for their honeybee news service.