Tribute to Local Apiarist, Craig Byer

Craig Byer_Stephen LaMarche

Long Island lost a passionate and dedicated advocate of sustainable agriculture last night when Huntington native and beekeeper Craig Byer died tragically in a motorcycle accident.

When he wasn’t covered in honeybees, tending to one of his 30 hives in Huntington, Smithtown, Fort Salonga, or Centerport, he was teaching his daughter about the beauty of nature, healthy eating, and not to fear the gentle, buzzy critters he so loved. Despite how hot and sticky it got in his bee suit, Craig stood in the sun, eager to steward the bees and make sure their pests, honey, and homes were under control. His knowledge was bountiful and constantly growing as he attended apitherapy workshops, visited famous beekeepers across the country, and grew his hive numbers with each season. Craig loved to educate others on the importance of saving the honeybees, eating organic, and the integrity of local, raw honey. Getting stung was never a question—every bee was special in his eyes. So much so that he would rather get stung than sacrifice a single bee.

I have Craig to thank for everything I know about honeybees, as he patiently taught me during a summer apprenticeship. Long Island’s food movement lost an important player and the bees will mourn his absence. I will remember Craig every time I smell the sweet, woody scent of a bustling beehive or taste the sweet nectar of a local drop of honey. He will be deeply missed.

Editor’s note – Cristina Cosentino profiled Craig Byer for Edible Long Island in a post which ran on our website just yesterday.