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Bee-hind the Badge: Officer Jeff Thomas

CHAMPAIGN -- This police officer has 20 years on the force and is now buzzing about a new hobby.
CHAMPAIGN -- This police officer has 20 years on the force and is now buzzing about a new hobby. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine introduces us to the man Behind the Badge; Jeff Thomas.

"I'm getting older in life and I'm just looking for a hobby I can call uniquely my own."

Officer Thomas found just that when he discovered his love for bees.

"I started reading about the decline of the bee population and how bees basically pollinate about 75 percent of the food that we eat. Without bees, we wouldn't have a lot of the food and vegetables that we eat."

Thomas started building his colony three years ago with just two hives. It's been tough keeping the bees alive over the winter, but he's not giving up.

"They say that one productive bee hive can produce about 100 pounds of honey, so I've got eight hives I'm hoping that I can get them built up."

Each one of these boxes have about 25,000 bees inside of them right now. Eventually, it will grow to about 80,000 bees and produce lots of honey.

"It helps me really work on my patience because you don't want to move them too fast or be too aggressive with them."

Thomas has six years on the bomb squad and says the slow and steady pace while working with the bees, helps on the job. Thomas says bees aren't as aggressive as you think. He plans to gather honey in the fall.
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