Perry Mann

Contrary to what students might think, teachers don’t spend all their time at school. Some of them have very interesting hobbies, Perry Mann being one of them. During the day, Mann spends his time as a social studies teacher at Alliance Middle School, a position he has held for the past 6 years. During his spare time, he keeps bees. He has been a beekeeper for the past 16 years.

“I have a cousin who is a beekeeper and I’ve always been interested in bees. So, I decided that I would give it a try,” Mann said. “After my first hive, I was hooked and have enjoyed the hobby ever since.”

When beekeeping, it is important for a person to interfere with the hive as little as possible. However, there are a few things a keeper must do to ensure a healthy hive. As the news has reported for the past couple of years, mites, fungi and diseases are causing bees to struggle.

“The most important job I have is to watch, diagnose and treat anything that may infect my hives,” Mann explained. “Other than this, I simply need to make sure they are healthy and expand my hive as each colony grows and harvest any honey that I may want throughout the season.”

Mann prefers to keep three hives at a time, but he’s kept as many as six and as few as zero over the years.

“The most important thing I would like people to realize is the pivotal role that bees and insects play in all of our lives,” Mann said. “I would hope that even if you are not a fan of insects, and maybe not interested in keeping bees, that you at least strive to respect and protect these important parts of our environment.”

Mann encourages those interested in beekeeping as a hobby to start by reading and watching videos about it. It will help them to understand the ins and outs of keeping bees. The next step would be to talk to a local beekeeper and spend time learning from them.

There are definitely some challenges that come with the hobby, the first being the cost to acquire the equipment. After you have what's needed, the cost decreases. The second being the diseases the bees are facing and learning how to handle and treat them.

Mann's children dressed in bee keepers gear

Beekeeping isn’t just a hobby for Mann himself. His family, including all his children, help tend to the bees.

“I like keeping bees because I find it very relaxing and interesting,” Mann explained. “I find it very relaxing just watching the bees and trying to understand what they’re doing.”