What's the buzz on beekeeping in Utah?
Buzzing around, pollinating our flowers and vegetables, honeybees are hard at work.
“There are 50,000 or 60,000 bees in that hive in the summertime," Kirk Johnson said, gesturing to his beehive.
Johnson is one of the over one hundred thousand hobby beekeepers in the United States. He’s also my dad. He’s had a hive in our front yard for seven years.
“I get so much honey from this hive now, I really don’t need more than one. I get 150 to 200 pounds of honey,” he said, "It takes 12 bees most of their lives to make that teaspoon of honey.”
Bees collect nectar and pollen to bring back to the hive when they visit flowers in your garden. The color of the pollen determines the color and flavor of the honey, giving you variations from deep browns to pale golds — even when the honey comes from the very same hive.
USU Extension’s thriving hives program helps beginning beekeepers start their hives.
“We teach beginning beekeeping clear up through advanced beekeeping," JayDee Gunnell said.
He's a horticulture professor at the extension. Gunnell said having a beehive can improve your home's vegetable garden.
“My best gardening years were the times that I had bees that would help pollinate the crops,” Gunnell said.
Gunnell said USU Extension’s resources make starting a hive simple and having bees is a rewarding, if expensive hobby.
“Watching them work and come and go and they're they're amazing. They're just fascinating creatures. It's a very fun hobby,” he said.