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Dave Miska

Dave Miksa of Groveland is saving the world — one queen bee at a time.

Miksa, 66, breeds queen bees. He is one of about 50 specialists who are maintaining the endangered bee population by providing thoroughbred royalty to raise colonies.

Though there are other insects that pollinate, honeybees are the easiest to manage for the large-scale pollination U.S. agriculture requires. In California, the almond crop alone uses 1.3 million colonies of bees, about half of all honeybees in the United States.

In the '70s, Miksa began buying property in Lake County. He found a niche off Groveland's Empire Church Road with plenty of citrus trees and plants perfect for maintaining hives. Today his Miksa Honey Farm is on about 40 acres, with the queen breeding and honey processing mostly off Honeycomb Road.

Miksa's dedication and success have brought a slew of international bee experts to his enclave. And Miksa has no intention of slowing down.

He will turn 67 in July, the same month 50 years ago that he began his research, says Miksa. "And I am still not planning to go onto the Social Security program, working 70 hours per week."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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