Local beekeepers run Honey Creek Bee Farm

Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Since 2015, three Center Grove residents have been learning the process of beekeeping and selling their honey.

Susie Simmons, her mom Linda Gibson and family friend Bill Maze operate Honey Creek Bee Farm from their property along State Rd 135. Hundreds of bees live in the farm’s 23 hives. During honey extraction in June, 13 boxes of bees produced more than 300 pounds of honey.

“We understand that bees are needed for pollination and just here in the last few years there have been a lot of issues with different pesticides that are killing off the bees,” Simmons says. “We’re just trying to do our part to help any way that we can.”

According to the USDA, honey bees pollinate $15 billion in crops each year. Simmons says when bees first come out of their hive, they have to get their bearings. To do so, they move around the hive and recognize certain features about whichever one they came from.

“When they go out for their first flight, when they come back, even though we have all those different hives, they know which hive is theirs. And it’s pretty cool,” Simmons says.

Gibson, Simmons and Maze participate in a bee club that meets monthly in Wannamaker that allows them to meet, seek and give advice to other local beekeepers.

“People will be coming in with their questions of what’s going on in their hive and is it okay or what should I do, and they’ll also be telling you, ‘okay, this is what you should expect during the next month,’” Gibson says. “You’ve got all these older people that are experienced beekeepers there who are there to help you and answer your questions.”

Since every beekeeper could have a different idea or process on how to do something, the club allows beekeepers to learn about methods of honey extraction or swarm capturing that they can take back to their bee farm and try.

“We’ve had a lot of people that have been willing to help and mentor us,” Simmons says. “Even though we’re only three years into it, we still feel like we have a lot to learn. New people come on into our group who live here in the vicinity. So, as we’re doing things, they drop by and learn just as we did because they have as many questions as we did.”

Honey Creek Bee Farm’s honey is filtered three times and is sold locally in a couple markets and by request. The honey is available in glass or squeeze jars and won’t be harvested again until spring 2018. Honey is available in either an eight or 16 oz. jar. To order, email honeycreekbeefarm@gmail.com.

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