BeeSpace, LLC, is one of PAm’s cause-marketing partners that is making a difference through their donations and collaborative work. BeeSpace is a Utah based family company, owned and managed by beekeepers Thomas Hopkins, Jr. and Thomas Hopkins, III. Together, they sell their full line of Mellivo beekeeping equipment at many farm supply retailers across the US and Canada through the buying group Mid-States Distributors, and also license their patented woodenware coating to manufacturers like Shastina Millworks (recently acquired by Mann Lake) for commercial beekeeping sales.
Photo: Thomas Hopkins, III (L) and Thomas Hopkins Jr. (R) are beekeepers and owners of BeeSpace, LLC, and Mellivo
More recently, BeeSpace has branched out partnering with Outlaw Distillery where their Hives & Still Honeyshine Spirits will be hitting the shelves this holiday season.
PAm and BeeSpace have been partnering for the last three years. 5% of all sales profits earned from Mellivo beekeeping products is donated to PAm to support beekeepers through practical honey bee research and forage projects. BeeSpace and PAm have also worked together to directly reach beekeepers - hosting a series of educational seminars at different locations across the Midwest. These seminars feature special guest speakers with the intent of bridging the gap between scientists and commercial, sideline, and backyard beekeepers and bringing free, science-based education to local beekeepers.
We recently sat down with Thomas Hopkins, III to ask about the history of BeeSpace and why it is important to them to support PAm.
Q. How did you and your family become beekeepers?
“The short story is that I had to leave my career as a brick mason because of an injury I sustained. This was around 2006 so Colony Collapse Disorder was the in news and it interested me because of the contribution that honey bees make to our agricultural system. Around that time, I traded some hives of bees for a small masonry job but the hives were very poor – essentially dead outs. I wasn’t sure what to do so I called Chris Rodesch, a biologist at the University of Utah and a County Bee Inspector. He helped me out and I soon scaled up and became a beekeeper. After that, I shadowed Chris for several years on inspections where I learned not only a lot of practical beekeeping knowledge but also a lot about the science and research that is important to beekeeping.
The Mellivo brand was developed when we were looking at scaling our live bee operation and were searching for better ways to make our equipment last longer - that’s how our patented woodenware coating was born.”
Photo: Hopkins’ hives in Montana. BeeSpace has a vision to scale-up to 2,000 colonies in their beekeeping operation. Their bees are based in Montana and head to California each year for almond pollination.
Q. What do you think Beekeepers need most right now?
“A voice. I know a lot of people would think that you need to cure Varroa and spread the word about monoculture crops and the problems that surround agriculture, but the biggest thing that I see is that beekeepers need a unified voice to lobby for them. I've advocated for this in the past and what we've talked about is getting the hobby beekeeper and the commercial beekeeper to work together so they can make some big changes. The research and forage projects are important, and they are great, but I think we could do so much more if beekeepers had a bigger voice to change policy and to educate the public.”
Q. Why did BeeSpace decide to become a supporter and partner of PAm?
“It was the same thing that inspired me to get into beekeeping - we heard there are issues and things going on with bees – and wanted to find out more about it. Once I found out what PAm does, the research that they provide and the different funding resources that they offer, for example, scholarships, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
My family tries to give as much as we can to different causes. But you have people that are out there donating to organizations that do things like feeding the homeless, which is great, but when you look at the big picture if you don't have bees you're not going to have the food to provide for the homeless or anything of that nature. So, I think it's the best place to put our money to help society as a whole.”
Q. What do you think PAm’s biggest impact is on the beekeeping industry?
“That's a tricky question because PAm delves into so many different areas. I guess it would be the research that PAm funds. From Varroa mites to queen breeding, forage programs and so on – it’s hard to say which one helps the most because they all help in conjunction with each other. PAm is engaging in a full-frontal assault on the problems that honey bees are facing, and the solutions to these problems, I believe will be based upon the findings stemmed from the foundation of research.”
BeeSpace LLC/Mellivo is an important strategic partner in PAm’s mission and work. Like all our supporters – beekeepers, individuals, and corporations large and small – their contributions are what makes PAm possible. Thank you, BeeSpace!