Ellis. April, 2017.
When Ellis was five years old, his uncle would take him to visit the bee-yard where his uncle kept beehives. While his uncle would work the bees, Ellis would sit and watch the honey bees fly to and from the entrance of the hives. His fascination with bees would continue to grow and at the age of ten he began keeping his own bees— he has now been beekeeping for approximately seventy-five years.
During his lifelong occupation as a beekeeper, Ellis has served as regional director with the North Carolina State Beekeeping Association for six years and has also been president of his local beekeeping chapter on two different occasions. Furthermore, he has taught beekeeping courses across much of North Carolina and has even taught classes in beekeeping and queen-rearing in Guyana, South America.
Ellis’s advice for people interested in becoming beekeepers is to join a local beekeeping club and find an older, experienced beekeeper that will provide a mentorship and the opportunity to work hands on with honey bees. He also encourages people to plant pollinator friendly plants and trees and to reach out to the forestry service people and push for the planting of more bee friendly hardwood trees.
I photographed influential beekeepers across North Carolina for two months. Please follow me as I post portraits of the amazing people I have met and share some of their incredible stories.