German, American partners work to protect bees


Karl Weisel
USAG Wiesbaden Family and MWR

Bees play a critical role in sustaining life on planet Earth.

Jerry Beierschmitt (left) and Joel “Dusty” Rhodes check on bee hives at the Rheinblick Golf Course.

Unfortunately, vast numbers of wild bee populations have dwindled in recent years through overuse of insecticides, natural predators such as mites and other causes leading to fewer and fewer wild hives. The result is the danger of less diversity and plant pollination, which has a direct impact on the food chain of all living beings.
“Obviously this is a big concern around the world,” said Jerry Beierschmitt, golf superintendent of the Rheinblick Golf Course.
Thanks to a German-American partnership at the Rheinblick Golf Course, the wild bee population is getting a helping hand. Jens Schwab, a German police commissioner in Frankfurt and a dedicated beekeeper recently brought two wild hives to take up residence at the course.
The bees had formally been staying at Schwab’s house in Gross-Gerau where he shares a residence with his brother-in-law Joel “Dusty” Rhodes, Rheinblick’s assistant superintendent and environmental officer.
“Beekeeping is a hobby of his,” Rhodes said, explaining that he had three active hives at his house.
“All I know is that I was allergic to bees and was scared to death at first – but they’re honey bees and not aggressive,” Rhodes said, pointing out that they do get agitated at the smell of bananas.
Golfers will most likely not even be aware of the new residents at the Rheinblick Golf Course, Beierschmitt said, explaining that the hives are situated away from the greens in a wooded area.
“We’re always looking at different ways to improve the wildlife,” Beierschmitt said. “This was a golden opportunity.”
Rhodes explained that the beekeeper contacted members of local Wiesbaden beekeeping organizations to help monitor and maintain the hives. “Jens was kind enough to put this together. He did all of the appropriate contacts for us. The local beekeepers will check on them and keep them active.
“I called the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Office, and they’re working on providing funding for the project with the initial outlay for the bees expected to be about 500 euros,” he said.
Rhodes added that the Rheinblick Golf Course managers have consistently sought ways to play a role in encouraging biodiversity through wildlife management. “We’ve ordered more wildflower plant seeds, which is good for the bees and the course.”
“That’s the big thing – pollination,” Beierschmitt said, adding, “If we can do a little part to keep honey bees in the wild, then it’s worth it.”