Frequently Asked Questions 
Please allow me to comment that I'm not intentionally leaving anything out, or trying to endorse any product or company.  There are lots of ways to do things, and I'll update this page often.  Thanks for checking out our site.

Do you ship honey?  Sorry, no.  We sell the honey out of our home.  Stop by during daylight hours.  The honey is on our porch.  We use the honor system where you put money in a jar.  It's especially good because we're essentially always open (even when no one is home).  We can accept credit cards if you call in advance to schedule a convenient time.  Please call if you have any questions.

Is the honey organic?  Is the honey kosher?
Our honey is as organic as it can get!  It's kosher too!  The honey is used by me and my family every day, and because we love bees, we get enough honey to be able to make it available to others.  Quantities are very limited.

We don't use any chemicals in our hives when the bees are making honey.  We use Apiguard (thymol) to control varroa mites when the honey boxes are in storage.  Thymol is a natural substance derived from the thyme plant.  We also "dust" our bees with powdered sugar to encourage them to clean themselves.  By doing this, they are able to remove some varroa mites, and they drop through a screen on the bottom of the hive.  It's pretty slick.

Aside from that, we can't control where the bees forage (no one can).  But we know pesticides & fungicides kill the bees, so they can't bring anything like that back into the hive.

For cost reasons, we don't have a kosher certification (we don't produce enough honey to warrant the expense).  But we are very careful with our hives & our honey equipment.  Our honey equipment is only used for honey extraction, and put in storage the rest of the year.

Do the bees sting you?   Yes, but not very often.  When we open the colonies on a nice day, when the bees are flying, they generally don't mind the intrusion.  If we drop frames or crush bees, the bees will become defensive and sting.  We always wear protective clothing over our heads and encourage everyone else to do so as well.

Do you offer tours of your bee yard (apiary)?   Many people stop to see our bees when they come for honey.  We have "open hive" events at the end of our Chester County Beekeepers meetings during warm months.  You can see the schedule here.

Do you sell honey bees?  How much do they cost?
Yes, we have some honey bees available in April & May.  Quantities are limited.  They are sold as packages, or as a nucleus colony.  The packages contain three pounds of bees & a queen.  The nucs have five frames of bees, brood, honey, and pollen.  The 2016 packages were $109 each.  Nucs were $165 each.

Do you sell full hives with bees?  How much do they cost?
Yes, they cost about $500 each.  It's much cheaper to buy & build your own equipment, and then install a package or a nuc.

Do you recommend any beekeeping books?
I like Beekeeping for Dummies for beginners.  There are two major publications for beekeepers, Bee Culture and American Bee Journal.  Dadant's "The Hive and the Honeybee" is the most comprehensive beekeeping book I've ever seen anywhere.

Where are all of the honeybees?
Honeybees started dying off heavily in the late 1980's due to a number of factors.  No one knows what is causing colony collapse disorder (CCD), but general consensus so far points to a combination of factors, including heavy pesticide use in our farms & genetically modified crops (GMO'S).

What can I do to help the honeybees?
Here are some ideas... 

  • Support your local beekeeper by buying some honey.  If you don't like honey, remember that it makes a great gift. 
  • Keep your own honey bees.  Get a starter kit from one of the beekeeping supply companies listed on our resources page such as www.betterbee.com
  • Don't use chemical treatments in your yard.  If you have to do this, try to do it less.
  • Plant bee-friendly items in your yard.  There is a nice list on pages 82-83 of the MAAREC (Penn State) website.

How did you get started keeping bees?
This isn't my full time job, it's just a hobby.  If I was independently wealthy I would spend many of my days with bees.  My goal is simply to help the honey bees, and get other people involved.  I learned to keep bees from my father-in-law, Len Walton, from my good friends Jarl Mork and Jim Bobb, and with support from the Chester County Beekeepers and the Pennsylvania State Beekeeping Association.  I'm not an expert, but I am determined to continually improve.  I'd like to become a certified EAS Master Beekeeper some day.

Do you remove honeybees or other stinging insects from structures?  Yes, please call to inquire.

 

Additional information can be found at Wikipedia's beekeeping page.