Pulling for pollinators: Hobby beekeepers hope to bring hives back to Butte

Scott Steinfeldt approached the beehives alertly but without apprehension.

He wore protective gear, including a helmet and veil. But Steinfeldt’s shirttail flapped loose, practically beseeching a honey bee to crawl up inside. He wore sandals. For a professional beekeeper, this was old hat.

Master beekeeper Scott Steinfeldt (left) assists Jennifer McCloskey with seasonal maintenance for her hive on Aug. 16 in Butte-Silver Bow County. 

Joseph Scheller

Jennifer McCloskey once had a bee in her bonnet. But not on this afternoon in mid-August.

The two tended a beehive near McCloskey’s home off Water Line Road in Butte-Silver Bow County. McCloskey waved a smoker to mellow the honey bees.

“The bees are very calm today,” she said. “If we didn’t have the smoke, they would be more active.”

Bees crawl around on a frame filled with nectar inside Jennifer McCloskey’s hive.

Joseph Scheller

Still, one honey bee protecting the hive stung Steinfeldt’s foot. He scarcely flinched.

At the time, McCloskey and Steinfeldt

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