HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – Carla Robertson is doing her best to advocate for of planet Earth’s most vital creatures, one social media post at a time.

The Henderson County based 17-year-old is interning with the Henderson County Beekeepers Association to help spread word about the importance of bees and the joys of beekeeping with users on TikTok and Instagram.

“I love talking. I love bees and that is something I want not only to keep to myself but to share with other people,” said Robertson.

For the last five years Robertson and her family have been keeping bees of their own, and own Hoopers Creek Bee Company, which raises and sells bees and beekeeping supplies to keepers.

As part of her internship with the Henderson County Beekeepers Association, Robertson is using her knowledge and experiences on an apiary to inspire and teach other beekeepers around the country through short videos she shares on Instagram and TikTok.

Some of the videos she’s created so far range from showcasing the work of a new queen bee to a showcase of how to use different extractors to get honey from hives to announcing speakers and events at the upcoming North Carolina Beekeeper’s Association Conference at Blue Ridge Community College, which starts July 13.

That conference will feature speakers on a number of topics important to beekeepers, including how to protect bees from deadly mites and will have a live apiary on hand courtesy of Robertsons’ family business.

Robertson is also teaching a class at the conference on raising queen bees and helping build mite-resistant colonies.

“One of the things I love about Carla is her enthusiasm but also her knowledge. I cannot imagine being 17 years old and having this much knowledge about bees. I can only imagine where she’s going to go from here to ignite our whole planet about bees,” said Michelle Tennant, Henderson County Beekeepers Association president. “The joy that Carla brings to every meeting, every endeavor actually reignites my own passion to have pollinators be healthy and to educate others on the plight of bees and everything that is happening.”

For her part, Robertson said she hopes to inspire others to either pick up beekeeping for themselves or to look for ways to support keepers and the bees they raise.

According to a recent study, 2022 was one of the deadliest years for bees across the country.

Nearly half of all U.S. honeybee colonies died in 2022. Those deaths were partially the result of bad weather conditions and flooding, Robertson said, but also the result of a breed of mites which infiltrate beehives and feed on the bees.

That can have significant impacts on farms all over.

“Bees are pollinators,” said Robertson.

Farmers will regularly rent bees for weeks or more at a time, and the insects will help spread crops around.

“So, they produce bigger fruit but also produce more fruit,” she said. “So, like with blueberries, if you don’t have bees to pollenate your blueberries, you aren’t going to yield enough blueberries to sell or give away.”

Robertson hopes her experiences and efforts with the beekeeper’s association will inspire others to pick up beekeeping.

“It is opening people’s eyes to the (beekeeping) experience. You post an Instagram reel or TikTok story and you are showing them you may not want to do this, but this is why you want to support it,” said Robertson. “We are doing it to sell you guys a pure bottle of raw honey, not trying to mix in corn syrup or sugar syrup in it like at the store.”

And if you can’t keep bees yourself, Tennant said there is still plenty you can do to help them out, and most of it doesn’t require much effort, like leaving out water or not using pesticides in your lawn.

“If you are unable to have bees in your back yard, plant something. Plant flowers, that’s a great way to help,” she said. “Just turning your landscape into a pollinators friendly aspect is something easy you can do.”