Frank the Beekeeper: Ridgewood man finds purpose in saving New Jersey bees

A Ridgewood beekeeper says he knows how to help save the honeybees.
Many people may not know that the official state insect of New Jersey is the honeybee.
These bees have been dealing with their own pandemic of sorts in recent years which is threatening their population.
Amid the buzz of the honeybees and the smell of fresh honey, Frank Mortimer is in his happy place.
“See how mellow they are? That’s the thing that I like to show people, is that bees aren’t like they are in cartoons, like this big giant fist that’s going to come out and get you,” Mortimer says. “They all mostly just want to keep doing what they’re doing.”
Mortimer says that he is a “bee person,” which is also the title of his book – “Bee People and the Bugs They Love.”
The book tells the story of how a presentation on keeping backyard bees at a Bergen County library sparked a lifelong passion for beekeeping. It documents his success and failures, his journey from newbie to certified master beekeeper and the colorful characters he meets in the world of New Jersey beekeeping.
“I didn’t know what to expect. When I started working around bees, I just had a desire to be around a big ball of stinging insects,” Mortimer says.
Mortimer writes in his book, “During the bee-less years of my life, I always felt like something was missing, a void I needed to fill.”
Mortimer describes the experience of working with bees as one of a meditative flow state where you are so focused on their world that our world disappears.
Mortimer has also gotten his daughters Svia and Ella into beekeeping. They have their own hives that they tend to.
Mortimer gives regular educational presentations about beekeeping and even has his own website.