Bill Parker of Horton Hill Farm in Jefferson has been beekeeping for 10 years. His bees are feasting on aster and goldenrod pollen now, and making plenty of honey. From the family farm, the family sells raw honey. The bees are local, gathered from trees and a local barn rafter. Through the years, he has split colonies, and relocated them to better spots.
”I will get a call ... and we will go retrieve a swarm,” Parker said. “I also see their pollination effect on my apple trees here at the farm, and enjoy these bees for all that they do.”
He doesn’t keep all the bees for himself, either; Parker said he recently got a call from a man in Charlotteville seeking his help.
”I am going to split one of my hives for him, and take that over,” Parker said. “You learn alot from each other.”
Fall is harvesting time for the beekeeper, and time to go through the boxes, making sure the nests will be dry and will hold the food the bees will need for winter.
Though the bees get quiet at this time of year, Parker said, he can see his bees buzzing in and out, over the pond. His 10 hives face the afternoon sun and stay warm in the winter months.
From colony behavior to learning about the health benefits of honey, the topic of bee-keeping offers many learning paths.
For example, Hanson said she learned the hard way that her bees don’t care for banana. Parker said he has learned something new about bees, keeping up with his 10 hives every day.
They all agree that their interest has grown and are proud to be part of the beekeeping community.
”How neat is that,” Parker said, “to see such an interesting insect make food.”