Local beekeeper hopes to keep the bee community alive

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Tom Knapp, a self-learned beekeeper and owner of Knapp's Bees, said beekeeping is a true passion. He wants to share this passion and with the Harrisonburg community.

Tom Knapp filters the raw honey, found in honey combs like this one.

"Bees are a necessary part of our environment. My goal is to remove them safely from structures, homes and trees within the greater Harrisonburg area and put them into equipment that is safe where they can flourish and continue their god given ability...to pollinate the world," said Knapp.

After stumbling across a swarm of bees in Harrison Hall, James Madison University called Knapp, asking for his expertise.

"As people know, JMU is a bee-friendly campus and so he works with the pollinator program on campus and asked that they be removed safely. I came and took a look and sure enough, bees in the ceiling of Harrison Hall," said Knapp.

After the removal, Knapp said the bees were buzzing in their new home, feeding off of the sugar water to build their numbers back up. Knapp houses six hives with more than 180,000 bees inside.

His main goal is to educate the community, keeping the bee population alive.

"60% of the food we eat is coming from pollinators. That's not just honey bees, but bumble bees, mason bees, but honey bees are known for their pollinating powers," said Knapp.