TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – A couple of local beekeepers and a community organization have been recognized with an award by a national bee care association.

Twin Falls residents Kirk and Heidi Tubbs are recipients of the 2017 Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award, which recognizes the partnership between the beekeeper and community stakeholders for their collaboration in support of honeybee health. The Twin Falls County Pest Abatement District, where Kirk works as manager, also was recognized.

Twin Falls residents Heidi Tubbs, left, and her husband, Kirk, not shown, recently won a national award for beekeeping. (Courtesy photo)

The Tubbs and the Pest Abatement District received $5,000 to help continue their research on the impact of pest control products on honeybees and to explore other possible methods for insect management.

“The Tubbs' were excellent candidates for this award,” said Becky Langer, project manager of the Bayer North American Bee Care Program. Bayer has two categories of awards: adult and youth. Nine applied for the adult award, 22 for the youth award.

This is the fifth year that Bayer has presented the awards. Langer said nominees must have a demonstrated passion for bees and their importance in the local ecosystem. Recipients may be beekeepers, stakeholders, pest abatement groups, 4-H clubs and others that play a vital role in beekeeping.

“Pollinators are critical to our ecosystem,” she said.

But what’s the best thing residents can do to attract bees and help the species? Make sure “to have things blooming form early spring to late fall.”

As for what types of flowers and plants bees enjoy, Langer said they’re not too picky.

“They like a variety of different shapes and color scents,” she said, noting that some favorites are “clover, most vegetables and blooming fruit trees, herbs, mint, black-eyed Susans and cosmos.”

Kirk Tubbs, courtesy photo

Kirk Tubbs said the award money he and his wife received will help them further research and grow the bee presence in the area. Once you get into it, he said, beekeeping is an addictive hobby. For Kirk, it is somewhat of a family tradition. He remembers his grandmother once keeping bees.

“They’re fascinating,” he said. “For the most part, they take care of themselves. … It’s pretty amazing when you see how they function in their hive and work for the good of the colony.”

The Tubbs family has close to 50 hives on their property, each hive containing around 6,600 bees.

“It’s amazing they’re able to navigate the way they do, to know where things are,” he said, explaining that bees will travel up to a mile to get nectar to make honey.

But “fascinating” and “amazing” are not the only words Tubbs uses to describe the work and social interactions of bees.

As a beekeeper now for several years, he’s learned another phrase: “It’s magical,” he said.

Heidi Tubbs, courtesy photo