The little town of Apple River in northeast Jo Daviess County, Illinois is the hometown of a big man - Terrence Ingram. Though not big in a physical sense, when it comes to saving the American Bald Eagle, there is hardly anyone in the United States held in higher regard than Ingram. His years of documented research and expertise regarding eagles and the work of the Eagle Nature Foundation, founded by Ingram, is in great part responsible for the bald eagle being removed from the “Threatened Species List “ in the United States.
Unfortunately, it was not his knowledge of eagles that the Illinois Department of Agriculture sought when they paid an unannounced visit to his home in March. It was his bees.
In the March 21, 2012 issue, The Prairie Advocate published a news release from Ingram that reported the theft of $5000 of his bees and bee hives on March 14. Ingram said that before they had left for their granddaughter’s wedding in Texas, the hives had been cleaned and made ready for new spring swarms.
I received a phone call from an area County Farm Bureau manager about the article, asking how I had come across the information. He knew that the equipment was not stolen, but “destroyed” by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDofA). The hives were infected with foulbrood, and Ingram was doing nothing about it.
There are 2 questions that Ingram wants answered:
- Did the IDofA, a state agency, have the right to enter Ingram’s property and confiscate a suspected “nuisance,” before Ingram had his day in court?
- Where are his bees? The “evidence” has disappeared, and the IDofA refuses to tell Ingram where they are, before, during, and after the hearing.
“I have been keeping bees for 58 years,” Ingram said during an interview at his home and apiary. “I am not a newcomer to beekeeping, and I definitely know what I am doing. I have been teaching beginning beekeeping classes for 40 years. In fact, it was my recommendation to some of my students who wanted to keep getting together to form a club. Today, the Stateline Beekeepers Association is one of the largest in the state.”