Questions people ask…
How do you process your honey?
We remove the honey supers from the hives, one at a time using a brush to remove the bees. Each frame is carried into the extraction area where it is uncapped and loaded into the extractor. Each frame is spun removing the honey and then lightly filtered with a nylon filter to remove large bits of wax and any remnants of bees caught in the process. It is then tested for moisture content and poured straight into honey containers. That’s it! No other processing takes place!
Do you use chemicals to fight mites?
When we first started keeping bees, we felt compelled to apply pesticides to the bees in the hive to reduce the number of varroa and trachael mites in our hives. Since we eat the same honey that we sell, it became clear to us that we didn’t want to continue this cycle. In 2004, we stopped treating the hives with pesticides and turned to a chemical-free treatment model. To combat varroa mites, we dust the hives frequently with powdered sugar which causes the mites to lose their grip on host bees. We also use screened bottom boards on all hives so mites fall to the ground.
How did you get started keeping bees?
Our grandparents used to keep bees and we enjoyed hearing about their experiences. I was browsing the internet and found a local bee club and decided to stop in at a meeting and see if I could check out someone’s hives. I drove my trusty Jeep pickup truck to their apiary. That beekeeper generously gave the colony to me. Together we loaded it into the truck and drove it home. After unloading, I had to make a new bed out in the shed…but I was hooked!
Do you get stung?
But really, doesn’t it hurt?
When we first started keeping bees, the stings seemed to hurt more. We didn’t have bee suits at that time so we took our lumps. There was a different feel to working the bees though. I often worked them in shorts and a t-shirt wearing only a veil for additional protection. Within a few years, that got a little “old” and we bought full bee suits and leather gloves. We still get stung even through the gloves and suits but it is typically not too bad. I think our immunity (or whatever) has built up to where the sting hurts only for a few minutes and doesn’t itch for days like it used to.
Do bees ever attack you?
Bees are defensive like any wild animal. People often confuse honey bees with yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, etc. Unlike those animals, bees typically are not agressive unless threatened. Most people remember being stung as kids running through clover. When you think about it though, it is when you stepped on the bees that they stung. If you see a hive or a swarm, do not play around it or touch it but also, do not be afraid of it. Give the bees the space and respect they require and everything should be fine.