We are so anxious here at makerlifestyle.com to get our new queen for our hive. Last year Maureen harvested 5 gallons of the blackest sweetest honey and she is itching to get back into her beekeeper gear. Unfortunately her bees didn’t make it through this awful winter. So we met up with Ken Walters, fellow beekeeper and owner of New Jersey based Yellow Bee Honey to get some insight. Like us, Ken believes life could always be a little sweeter.
1. Most people run away from bees. Why are you so drawn to them?
The lack of honey bees from the start got me thinking that I might not be able to fix the problem, but I sure can try to help make a change for the better.
2. How did you get started in the bee business?
I put my passion of beekeeping to work, and grew what once was my hobby into a family business.
3. It’s been snowing like crazy around here, how do your bees survive the winter?
The bees cluster in a ball in the hive to keep not only the queen warm because she is central to the hive, but themselves too. They’re just amazing at everything they do. I do help them by blocking the wind with hay bails and I also make sure there is plenty of food for them during the winter months to keep them healthy. During the winter I feed the bees a “bee patty” that I make. It’s made up of fondant and vitamins to help keep them healthy & the bees just love it.
4. How many bees do you have working for you?
We have a number of hives located in Princeton, Pennington, Lawrenceville and now Robinsville, NJ. Each hive, when healthy, can have as many as 60,000 bees.
5. What are some of the pains of being a beekeeper?
It can be hard work at times wearing the suit in the hot sun but I enjoy it. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it all. So I honestly don’t consider it a chore at all. .
6. Where do you see Yellow Bee heading in the future? Any goals you want to share with us?
My goals are to grow as a business, in not only the sale of honey and my products, but in the programs I teach in beekeeping and in the conversations I have with everyone I meet. Sustainability is what it’s all about.
7. Are there any insider tips you can share with us?
Always buy raw honey whether it’s Yellow Bee or someone else’s honey. Raw honey is better for you as it retains all of it’s nutritional value.
8. How many times have you been stung?
How many times have I been stung ? – I’m asked that a lot …. Too many times to even remember quite frankly. I don’t enjoy being stung but I guess you “kind of” get used to it over time.
9. What’s your favorite thing to make with honey?
I love it all but I guess my favorite would be the honey comb and our honey butter with cinnamon that we now make. This was something my grandmother would make for me as a child and I enjoyed it very much. It brings back many fond memories.
10. Where can we find your honey?
I’m at a number of locations in New Jersey. For more info just head to my site yellowbeehoney.net .We have raw honey in many size jars, honey comb, bee pollen, creamed honey, honey butter & cinnamon. Wedding and special event honey favors. We also have a “rent-a-hive” and an adopt a hive program for pollination as well as our very popular Yellow Bee 101 class.
Interview by Michael Nunes