Honeysuckle Hill Bee Farm – Tanya and Jerry Sumerel

subject: Beekeeping

Tanya and Jerry Sumerel are a retired couple that now run Honeysuckle Hill Bee Farm in Concord, North Carolina. Jerry fell in love with apiary around eight years ago when his friend got him to go to a class about it. Ever since, Jerry and Tanya have continued to grow their apiary and their small business that now includes over one hundred hives. Topics discussed include how they got into bee farming, what it entails to be a beekeeper, how their operations have changed over the years, the beekeeping community in greater Charlotte and Cabarrus County, and the future of Honeysuckle Hills Bee Farm.

Tape Log

0:00:32Getting Involved in Beekeeping
0:01:16Describing growth of Apiary
0:01:36How to keep bees alive
0:02:16Typical Day in Beekeeping
0:02:30Winter-time working
0:02:44Next Honey-Flow Season
0:03:10Working in Hives
0:04:30Hive overcrowding
0:05:07Getting back swarming Bees
0:05:45Extracting the honey
0:07:30Bringing honey to honey house
0:08:09Honey production like farming, weather affects the production season
0:08:57Operations change throughout years
0:09:55How used to fill bottles of honey vs. now abilities
0:10:57Vital importance of the honeycomb
0:12:11Processes of ensuring honeycomb protected
0:12:52124 boxes to gather honey last year
0:13:08Back in the day, honeycomb in jars
0:13:45Poor man’s chewing gum
0:14:05Don’t see honey bees today
0:14:28Extinction of bees
0:14:52Biggest Problem- varroa mite and Pesticides
0:15:44Behind in US in protecting bees due to monopolies
0:16:15Farmer’s and beekeeper’s points of views in pesticides
0:16:17No beekeepers=no honeybees, impact of loss of honeybees
0:16:45Bees role in California almond production
0:17:19Commercial Beekeepers
0:17:57Charlotte strengths/challenges in beekeeping
0:18:23Canada, due to weather, used to let bees die, but can’t now
0:19:14Raise bees early in South, and sell here
0:19:48Raising Queens
0:21:05Be careful of Queens hatching
0:21:39Expenses of beekeeping
0:22:01No money in honey, money is in selling bees
0:22:24Selling the Bees
0:23:07Mostly word of mouth when selling
0:23:27Starting up for new beekeepers/ Cabarrus County Class
0:24:59What to do if bee issues, State beekeeping Inspectors
0:25:56State Inspected to sell bees
0:26:36Medicine used to treats bees now has to be prescribed by vets, new law by State to stop over abuse in farmers, but harmed beekeepers
0:28:123 Vets in Cabarrus learning to care for bees
0:28:37Mecklenburg and surrounding area beekeepers
0:29:12Cabarrus County Beekeepers Club description
0:29:35Beekeeper associations/clubs are big family, very close
0:30:15Gaining access to farmer’s market
0:31:56Starting business with wholesalers, and getting product in businesses
0:32:54Online business growing
0:33:20Tours and talks to churches, youth, homeschool groups
0:34:00Description of tours and talks
0:34:48Supportive bee club
0:35:25Club booth at fair ground
0:36:12Growth of Charlotte and Concord
0:37:05Best place to put hives
0:38:25Solar Farms affect bees
0:39:25Pine Trees are bee deserts
0:39:50Charlotte Weather affect on bees
0:40:45Second Freeze setback, and rain ruins honey flow
0:41:12Description of bees work
0:42:09Bees keep Hive 92-94 degrees all year
0:42:35Check bees in winter to ensure enough food, feeding bees
0:43:39Connection to farmers, locations of hives
0:44:27Small farms/gardeners use bees
0:44:44Taking care of Hives on other properties
0:45:45Mecklenburg President has have on back deck
0:46:04Bees and Neighbors
0:47:02Bees in Neighbors swimming pool, bees need water
0:48:10Uses of water for bees, air conditioning the hive
0:48:55Intelligence of bees, why they love honey bees
0:50:07Misunderstandings of beekeeping, bees stinging
0:51:01People think all bees the same
0:51:16How often gets stung by honeybees
0:52:23People don’t realize benefit of honey, pollen, and bee sting
0:52:56Europe using honey for burn patients
0:53:11Honey can help diabetics with rotting limbs, Doctor in NC talks about this
0:54:02Don’t buy store bought honey, removes benefits
0:54:36Buy from beekeepers or raw unfiltered honey
0:55:32Ceylon Cinnamon creamed honey for diabetic patients
0:56:12Advice to new bee farmers
0:56:44Don’t get discouraged if your bees die
0:57:05Get a mentor, how they mentor
0:57:32Future of Honeysuckle Hill Bee Farm
0:58:47Future of Farming in Charlotte/Concord- hard for small farmers
1:22:00Conclusion/ Further Contacts



>> Kristina Lance: Okay, hi, I’m Kristina Lance. I am here at Honeysuckle Hills Bee farm, and I have-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Tanya Sumerel.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And Jerry Sumerel.

>> Kristina Lance: With me in Concorde, North Carolina. And we’re gonna talk a little bit today. So, I know we discussed this just a little bit earlier but, can you tell me a little bit more about the story of your friend, kind of influencing you to become a bee farmer?


>> Jerry Sumerel: A friend of mine invited me to go to a workshop in bee keeping. And my first response was like most people, I didn’t wanna do that. I don’t really care about bees cuz I didn’t know anything about them. And so I went just to appease him, and just totally fell in love with bee keeping.


And we started out with two hives, and they died, and we purchased two more, and lost the queens in those. But over a period of time, two or three years we began to learn a little bit. Taking workshops, going to meetings, joining the bee club, and we went from two hives to up to 200 hives.


>> Kristina Lance: So what do you think, what was kind of that moment when it clicked to where it went from when they just keep dying to we’re actually getting some success here?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Probably about three years.

>> Kristina Lance: Three years? And you know what you started doing differently?

>> Jerry Sumerel: No more than just beginning to understand how to work with the base.


And when not to bother them. What to look for is disease, when you pull a frame out of a hive and you check it. To know what you’re looking for. And if you’re looking for any type of disease like a deformed wing virus, or high mite count in a hive, and how to treat your hives.


>> Kristina Lance: Okay, cool. And so what’s kind of a typical day in bee keeping like?

>> Jerry Sumerel: As far as work?

>> Kristina Lance: Mm-hm.

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: Depends on the time of year.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Jerry Sumerel: You’re basically working year-round. In the wintertime when it’s really cold, you’re usually in your building repairing, building, cuz I build my own boxes, my own hives.


And so, reading bee journals. Getting ready for the next honey flow. Which will start here in the next month here. And actually, it’s probably already starting because of this weather that we’re having now. A typical day for me is probably working at least ten-hour days.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow. Wow.


>> Jerry Sumerel: And then you don’t get called up. I just work until I can’t work anymore, and then I quit, and then I pick up the next day.

>> Kristina Lance: So how often are you kinda with the bees in the hive, depending on the season?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Like now for instance, it’ll start getting busier in April.


It’d be really busy. I’d be in the hives probably at least six to eight hours.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow. What do you when you’re with the bees in the hives just for people that aren’t good at bees or bee keepers? Do you, are you, how do you extract honey and things like that?


>> Jerry Sumerel: Okay, well, up until the end of the honey flow for this area, usually the honey flow is over sometime in late June. And then there’s no honey flow until the fall. During that time I’m constantly going in the hive, checking the brood, the baby bees, looking for the queen or eggs, evidence of a queen being in a hive.


Looking for any type of disease, whether it be varroa mites, hive beetles, wax moles. And just continually check, and you don’t wanna go in too often. But you need to go in every hive that you have, every eight to ten days. Because if you don’t, if the hive gets too crowded, the bees will decide they need to swarm.


And so they’ll push the queen out. She will leave and take 75% of the bees with her.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, when you see that happening, they leave and they go off and find another home, you’ve lost a lot of bees. But you’ve also lost your honey flow for that hive.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: So there’d be no honey.

>> Kristina Lance: So, my friend, actually her parents, all of a sudden had a hive of bees just show up one day. Is there a way you can, like, if you find them, can you get those bees back?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yes. Yeah. We’re on a list, Cabarrus County.


So that if someone has bees in a tree or in their house, or hanging on the side of their car or something, call us. We’ll come get them. And we do that. And we have, because we have a lot of hives here, we’ll have hives to swarm. And then if we go out, I walk out one day and I see this big nest of bees hanging in a tree.


Then we go and go up, and take them down, and put them back in our hive.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay, cool. And how do you get the honey out?

>> Jerry Sumerel: As far as extracting the honey?

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Jerry Sumerel: You wanna do it?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, what we do is each hive box above the queen exploiter, there’s a separation point.


And each one of those boxes, that’s another part of his work that he does, is he goes in there not only checking on the bees and the babies, and the welfare of the bees. But also in the top supers is what we call the top boxes. And checking if the honey is ready.


Cuz even though the bees are gathering the nectar, it has to be capped off before it’s ready for us to harvest. So when that happens, then we go through and we pull each frame, not just the entire box. But there’s anywhere from five to ten frames in each one of the boxes.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So a box of honey is going around 40-60 pounds depending on the size of the box. And so we pull frame by frame or the whole super if it’s ready. And the way we do it is we pull only what’s ready. And the frames that are not capped, we leave it on the bees to let them finish capping the honey, making it ready.


There’s a percentage of water content and all that that the bees know. So we take those capped frames and boxes, put it in our van and bring, cuz all the different yards. So we go to each of the yards checking. And then bring it here up to the honey house.


We have a centrifuge and we take each one of those frames, slice off the capping, we slice that off, put it in a, and let it spin. When it spins, the honey comes out and drains down to the bottom. And the honey then is, we put in five gallon buckets.


So the buckets then is how we store it until we need to bottle it and use it.

>> Kristina Lance: So, how many five gallon buckets will you get for like this honey production season coming up until June?

>> Jerry Sumerel: It’s like farming. You could have a good season one year and a terrible season the next year.


You don’t know, it all depends on the weather. Like now, it’s been beautiful since the rain has stopped. So everything is blooming. So, if it stays this way, we’ll have a good honey crop. If it starts raining, every two or three days, we have a shower, it washes the nectar out.


There’s nothing for the bees to gather. If that happens often, then you don’t have a good honey crop. So, it’s all weather related. And, so we’re crossing our fingers this year that it’s gonna be a good honey flow.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah [LAUGH].

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: So how has kind of the operations changed over the years?


I know you’ve grown with, now 12 hives, or locations for hives. But besides growing, how has it changed? Have you gotten more advanced? Or is it kind of the essentially the same process as when you started?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, it’s-

>> Tanya Sumerel: It’s same process.

>> Jerry Sumerel: We just been able to purchased better equipment.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Better equipment.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Larger equipment so that we can extract our honey quicker.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Larger building to work in. A better storage tank.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Bottle and tank.

>> Tanya Sumerel: New labels.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, we used to bottle our honey. Put our honey in five gallon buckets, and then we would pour our honey.


A little gate valve on the bottom of the bucket, so we would sit there with a five -gallon bucket, and fill our honey, our jars up. And now we have a 42-gallon heated bottle and tank. So everything goes into that. And then it’s heated, like 90, 95 degrees, so it’s easier to pour.


So we can sit there and bottle a lot quicker.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So-called driplets hanging outside. Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: So it’s not as messy, and just I think when you start out in beekeeping, you get the very basics unless you have a lot money.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: You get the basics, and then you do the best you can.


>> Tanya Sumerel: And then you grow from that.

>> Jerry Sumerel: As time goes along, and if your apiary grows, and you see that you need better equipment than you can purchase-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Probably the most valuable thing that we’ve accumulated through the eight years is the honeycomb. Because when we first started, those first year or two, we started with bare foundation frames.


And it was over that couple of years, so by that third year, we had frames with honeycomb to put in on the hives. And they were able to gather nectar. Instead of building, spending all their time and energy to build the honeycomb, the bees were actually gathering the nectar.


>> Kristina Lance: So is the honeycomb, do you get that from previous bees that have built a honeycomb?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes.

>> Kristina Lance: And then you just replace it in there, and they can kinda found it?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Cuz it takes eight pounds of honey to make one pound of wax.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.


>> Jerry Sumerel: So for every pound of wax the bees are making, so they can put their honey in. We’re losing eight pounds of honey. So it takes years to accumulate.

>> Tanya Sumerel: To accumulate.

>> Jerry Sumerel: But once you get comb that has drawn out, then you can put it in the hive.


All the bees have to do is fill it up.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Just fill it up.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Cap it off. You can extract it, put it right back in the hive, and they can fill it up again if you’re lucky.

>> Kristina Lance: Are there particular processes to be careful not to kind of break the cone or?


>> Tanya Sumerel: When we extract honey, that’s part of the harvesting. When we uncap it and put it in the spinner. When we take it out, we take that frame that is empty of honey. We take that frame of honeycomb and put it back on the hive, let them clean out every drop of honey that might be left on there.


Then we take that and we freeze it or store it for the following year, the next season.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, so over the period of years, last year, we’ve put 124 supers on 124 boxes to gather honey. They didn’t fill all of those up but I mean, we have the resource there.


So actually the wax and the comb is more valuable than the honey.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: I don’t know if you’ve, you probably don’t remember but back in the day before you had the extractor to spend the honey out. Beekeepers would take, and just take a knife, and cut the chunks of honey, and used it in jars.


Well, you don’t see that today, they’re-

>> Kristina Lance: Because they need it.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Right, because that wax in there is more valuable than the honey. And so, very few beekeepers will do comb honey.

>> Kristina Lance: Is there a difference in flavor between honey and comb honey?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: Or is the comb just kind of-


>> Jerry Sumerel: The comb is just, really it’s a nostalgia. People love chewing on it, and it used to be called the poor mans chewing gum.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: But I can remember my dad, sitting at the table and taking a spoon, and dipping it to the honey with the comb, and putting it on his plate on a hot biscuit.


And literally eat the wax, eat the comb.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah [LAUGH].

>> Tanya Sumerel: But in those days, you also would run around barefoot and step on bees.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, you don’t see these today.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That doesn’t happen now.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah. If you see honeybees in your yard, like on your clover, then there’s a bee keeper probably within two miles of where you live.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Otherwise you will never see a honeybee. They’re not out there anymore.

>> Kristina Lance: So how has kind of the extinction with honeybees and stuff affected you all, and feel free to talk about what we can do to work on that. Or, if there are any specific problems in Charlotte that affect it as well.


>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, the biggest problem is the varroa mite that was introduced into this country from Asia or somewhere. That came into this country in the 80s, and that decimated the bee population. There’s also a coating that they now put on corn and soybean. It’s a neonicotinoid coating that they put on crops, which the farmers want because it kills the insect so they can have a better corn or soybean crop.


But in retrospect, it’s killing our honeybees. And they have banned neonicotinoid in Europe. They have figured out that if they don’t do something, there’s not gonna be pollinators anymore. But here in the US, we’re always behind because big corporations, like Monsanto and Bayer, they have the money to lobby and fight.


And, it’s hard to fight against money. So, and actually they’ve come out with another neonicotinoid that they’re using that’s even more deadly. For the honey bee.

>> Kristina Lance: My goodness.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Or not just the honey bee, but any pollinator. So we understand the farmer’s point of view, but we’re trying to get them to understand the beekeeper’s point of view.


Because if we lose our bees, which we are losing, if it wasn’t for beekeepers, there wouldn’t be no more honey bees. But if we lose our honey bees, you lose a third of your crop. You would have no nuts and berries and lots of vegetables.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah cuz they pollinate everything.


>> Jerry Sumerel: It’s like now, I don’t know if you realize it but in California you have the almond. If you’re familiar with that, the almond population in California. They transport millions and millions of hives to California for pollination.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: This past year they took two points, two point-


>> Tanya Sumerel: Million hives? And that wasn’t-

>> Jerry Sumerel: Over two million hives across the country was taken out to California cuz they don’t have enough out there to pollinate. And they still needed a million more.

>> Kristina Lance: My goodness.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, so beekeepers now, the big commercial beekeepers, they put their hives on flatbed trucks and they take them to California for pollination.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And they get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that and then bring their bees back home.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: But that’s for the big beekeepers, people who have 2,000, 5,000 hives.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH] Yeah.

>> Jerry Sumerel: It would be worth it. It wouldn’t be worth me loading up my 200 hives and going to California.


>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH] Yeah. Especially not from North Carolina. Quite the haul.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, it is.

>> Kristina Lance: So are there any particular challenges or strengths that you have here in Charlotte with beekeeping? Whether that be, maybe, milder winters or the volatile-

>> Tanya Sumerel: The milder winters.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, the winters are milder than it is up north.


Further north you go it’s harsher weather, so it’s harder to keep bees alive. They used to, up the upper part of the US and into Canada, they would even let their bees just die. Because they just couldn’t take care of them, so they just let the bees die.


And then in the spring they would order bees out of the southern part of the country. And take bees out and make their honey crop and pollination, and then just let them die again. Now the keepers in that part of the country try to keep them alive. And one guy in Canada, he runs about 1,500 hives, and he actually puts his hives indoors.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Huge metal building and he puts them in.

>> Jerry Sumerel: But the airflow has to be regulated because of carbon monoxide and all that, but he’s got a large operation. But beekeepers, like now in the south, you can raise bees early in the south. And then you can raise queens and bring them to this part of the country and sell them.


And like us, we just ordered 100, it’s called a Minnesota hygienic, so a hygienic bee, that they’re raising down in Louisiana. So and I raise my own queens, but I can’t start raising queens here until about this time maybe in another month I can raise queens. But, yeah, in Louisiana, they’re already raising queens so we can order them.


>> Kristina Lance: So what’s the process of raising a queen? How does that work?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, you have to go into a hive and when the queen lays an egg on the third day that egg becomes a larvae. And it’s almost as tiny as-

>> Tanya Sumerel: That pen head.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Smaller than the tip of that pen.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And you go in and you basically go in and pull that larvae out of the cell. And I can show you later, but you pull it out, put it in a queen cup. And then you do that, and then you take the frame and put it into a strong hive that does not have a queen.


And then the bees in there is like, we don’t have a queen, we need a queen bad. So they’ll see that larvae and they will start feeding it royal jelly to make a queen. And then over a period of time, they will feed it royal jelly, make a queen cell or queen.


And then in 16 days, hopefully, she hatches out and then, of course, when they hatch, they’re virgin queens. And then they go out and mate, come back and you put them in different hives.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Jerry Sumerel: You just have to be careful because you may have 20 cells of queens and they’re all gonna hatch.


But the first queen that comes out will go around and kill all the others because she wants to be queen. So, you have to make sure that you go in at the right time and pull all these cells off and put them in different boxes that don’t have a queen.


So, anyways-

>> Kristina Lance: So they gotta have space.

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH] They gonna have their own group, kingdom. [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: So what are some of your largest expenses with beekeeping? Is it just the equipment, or-

>> Jerry Sumerel: It’s all of it.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay. [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: Equipment is expensive, very expensive.


>> Jerry Sumerel: Buying bees, and I always tell people there’s really no money in honey. Honey helps you, kind of sustains you, keeps you going. But if you wanna make money in beekeeping, you wanna sell bees and queens. You could sell one queen for $25.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And you can sell a small package of bees for 100 to $150.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And so that’s where the money’s at.

>> Kristina Lance: So how do you sell a bee or a queen? Is there like a network, and then how do you get it to who you’re gonna get it to?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, like now I have orders right now, for about 50 nucs, they call them nucs, which is a half of a hive.


And so what people that wanna get into beekeeping will do, they’ll bring their box to me and I will take out the five frames, the nucs, put them in their box, with a queen. And they’ll take it away and then they feed it and take care of it till it develops into a full hive.


And then hopefully, they can keep it alive and keep it going.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Most of that contact is made through the club or word of mouth. Now, the bigger operations, they advertise in the journals.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, we don’t, this is just word of mouth.

>> Kristina Lance: So how many new beekeepers do you help start up?


>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, in Harris County, there’s a gentleman here that, well, several guys that teach beekeeping. And they teach it once a year and it starts in January, February.

>> Tanya Sumerel: January.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Okay, in January, so eight or nine weeks class and and they fill up. They have the capacity to seat 60 people who wanna take beekeeping and they fill up and they have a class-


>> Tanya Sumerel: Every year, it fills up.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yes, so every year just in this county alone there are 60. New bee keepers that are coming along and so, they’re looking for bees, so you sell them bees.

>> Kristina Lance: Do you go to the classes or help teach the classes still?


>> Jerry Sumerel: No, I don’t, no, there’s a gentlemen, Bob Blackwelder, who was the guru of beekeeping.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes, and honey judge.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And he’s also the honey judge.

>> Tanya Sumerel: For the Cabarrus County, Rowan and.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, Bob’s been keeping bees for over 50 years.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s who I said, that’s who you wanna talk to, he’s been around for a long time, he’s the old timer.


>> Jerry Sumerel: And not only is he a beekeeper, he’s also a farmer, dairy farmer.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And cattle farmer, yeah, so he knows all of that stuff.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, he knows a lot of stuff. So he’s a guy that if you’ve got a question, you’re not sure, you can call him and get some information.


>> Kristina Lance: So is there, this like a veterinarian for bees or would you just call Bob or if you have.

>> Jerry Sumerel: You call the state, you call the, what is it?

>> Tanya Sumerel: North Carolina, Greg or.

>> Jerry Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or Nancy [LAUGH] so I know [LAUGH].

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, anyway there’s a, what’s it called?


Here, we call the State Beekeeping Association and they have inspectors for each quadrant of North Carolina. I think there’s like four or five of them and for this area, there’s a gentleman.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Greg Ferris.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Greg Ferris is the state bee inspector for this area, so if you have a question,


>> Jerry Sumerel: Or if you have a problem, you call him, and he will come and inspect your bees. In order to sell bees you have to be state inspected and so, he came and inspected my bees two weeks ago, and he checks your bees. Make sure there’s no disease, no, nothing going on, and then


>> Tanya Sumerel: So that you can sell.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Then you get a-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Certificate.

>> Jerry Sumerel: A certificate saying you’re allowed to sell these, otherwise, you’re not supposed to sell these.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Certificate to permit, yeah

>> Kristina Lance: Okay, cool.

>> Jerry Sumerel: But yeah, you just call the state, whatever it is [LAUGH].

>> Tanya Sumerel: But yes, there, because of, I don’t totally understand, but because of the,


>> Tanya Sumerel: That used to treat the bees. Now, that we were just start seeing that the veterinarians in the area. In fact, we just got the list this last meeting of different veterinarians in the area that we can go to, to get this certain kind of medication treatment for our bees.


So that is something brand new that’s going on.

>> Jerry Sumerel: And that was just passed, because people, not beekeepers, but I forgot the name of it right off. But anyway there was a medication that you he used to treat for nosema which is like a dysentery and that the bees can get and decimate a hive, but it’s also for farm our animals.


So that was being a bee use and gave her overmedicate using the antibiotics, overly using it. So the state put a stop to it and now, you have to go through a veterinarian to get it, which is great, or okay for farmers. But there’s no veterinarians out there that treat bees.


So we just put a, it’s locked us down, so that just now begin to come around because.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Trying to-

>> Jerry Sumerel: Trying to find the bee keeper who arrived you.

>> Tanya Sumerel: A veterinarian to do that.

>> Jerry Sumerel: A veterinarian arrived with prescription for this medication that you need.

>> Tanya Sumerel: But Cabarrus County was on the list now, yeah, [LAUGH].


>> Kristina Lance: So do the veterinarians know anything about bees? Or do you just come to them and say, I’ve got this issue, it’s dysentary. Can I have this script?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Well, they didn’t know anything about it. And undoubtedly, these two or three that they’re getting now is learning about enough about bees and say, okay, I can write you a prescription.


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, and I understand what this is.

>> Tanya Sumerel: It is, I mean, this is like brand new idea last month or this month was the first meeting for the vets here in this area.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow, so do you know, I know Caberrus has a pretty big, it seems like beekeeper population.


What about Mecklenburg or surrounding areas, are there a lot more beekeepers than people realize?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Yeah, they’re on.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes, yes, yes.

>> Jerry Sumerel: There’s more beekepers out there, I don’t know how many Mecklenburg, or Stanley, or Iredell County have. We’re probably one of the largest, maybe not the largest, but one of the largest beekeeping associations.


Cabarrus County is, but Mecklenburg has a good association, and a lot of places are probably in the-

>> Tanya Sumerel: I heard-

>> Jerry Sumerel: 20, 30, 40 people, but our club usually has over 100.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Jerry Sumerel: Members.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow, how often do you meet?

>> Jerry Sumerel: Once a month.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.


>> Tanya Sumerel: In fact, a couple of months ago with the president of the Mecklenburg came and spoke at ours.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay, cool, so how closely do you guys align with Mecklenburg and things like that?

>> Jerry Sumerel: We stay.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes, yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Jerry Sumerel: We all stay abreast, it’s all a family.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And there’s even members that go to Bob, he goes to Irredell and Cabbarus. And then Tommy, he goes to the Cabarrus and the Mecklenburg.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, you can join as many and you don’t have to join to go. If you wanted to come to one of our bee meetings, you are welcome to come and sit down.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow, yeah, that would be cool, okay.

>> Kristina Lance: You always wanted to learn.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes.

>> Kristina Lance: Right.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s it.

>> Kristina Lance: And then, so I know that you guys sell wholesaler and you sell in Farmer’s Markets and stuff. How did you kind of gain access to the Farmer’s Markets?


And I know you said, the wholesalers some of them like Mecklenburg sell your product there, but how do you get the honey and stuff there?

>> Tanya Sumerel: In the Farmer’s Market when we first started out, we went to the Farmer’s Market down in Harrisburg. And we just walked up and said who’s in charge of this operation?


And they introduced us to the lady at the time.

>> Tanya Sumerel: We were put on a waiting list, I think for about a year.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And we did that market first, and then we were admitted into the Piedmont one which is the, on one Cosgill Road. And then became a permanent vendor there.


>> Kristina Lance: So you have to pay a yearly fee. You have to join the association, and then you pay a yearly fee for that, and then you also pay a weekly fee to sell there. And you technically are not supposed to miss more that 15%, so this market stays open year around.


So if it’s 20 degrees out, you’re supposed to be there regardless.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And then the other markets they just, Kings happened to come to the mark and say, hey, we’re opening the center and you wanna-

>> Kristina Lance: You wanna come and join, they’re trying to get-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Just kind of word of mouth type.


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So that’s how we got into the markets.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow, and how did you get with like the barbecue place and the wholesalers And things like that. Is that word of mouth too?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Pretty much.

>> Kristina Lance: Pretty much word of mouth. There was a couple of stores.


There’s another store in Georgia that, where my sister lives. She’s the friend of the owners and so she took my product in and said, hey, look what my sister does. Are you interested? And that’s how I got in. It is really word of mouth.

>> Tanya Sumerel: But I don’t know if you’re familiar, like Troutman Barbecue up town, I know the lady that owns it, and so she just said would you like to bring some honey up Union Street Market, uptown Concord, new store that just opened up.


They called him the Honey Hole in West Jefferson, North Carolina.

>> Kristina Lance: No, I think she went online and was looking for-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, people find us online.

>> Kristina Lance: Online.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Like you, you found us.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: We got all these people all the sudden.

>> Kristina Lance: For the last year or two, I would say people finding us online.


Before that it was word of mouth and a friend of a friend referral.

>> Tanya Sumerel: It’s like we speak at different-

>> Kristina Lance: Churches.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Churches and groups [CROSSTALK].

>> Kristina Lance: Girl Scouts and-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, and it’s all of a sudden we’re getting all these calls from these different camps and it’s all because we’re online.


They see us online. They call us. They say, will you come and talk to our-

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Group or our kids.

>> Kristina Lance: Can we have a tour? [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: How many tours do you do? And I’m assuming that probably starts up kind of in the coming month and in the summer time and stuff.


>> Kristina Lance: But we just gave two talks, two churches this last week.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Last week.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: We’ve got another one, two or three, that’s up. It’s just now beginning to, we’ve done several. We homeschooled our kids and so we have homeschool groups that’ll call and say can we come and see.


And anywhere from a group of 10, 15 kids to the other week this grandmother wanted her grandson exposed to beekeeping so she brought this one kid.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And so Tonya, we put the veil and the suit on them and go through the whole thing.

>> Kristina Lance: And do you charge for the tours?


>> Tanya Sumerel: No.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, we just promote beekeeping.

>> Kristina Lance: Just community service, yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, so we don’t charge the churches or anything, we just go do it. Now, if they ask us to bring our product, we’ll take it.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, we sell it there.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And if they wanna buy some, but we don’t push it.


>> Kristina Lance: That’s awesome.

>> Tanya Sumerel: It’s a community service. Most beekeepers will do that.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes, yeah, I have to say the bee club is very supportive and always helping each other, helping the community. They’re very like-minded.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, it’s a good group.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yes.

>> Kristina Lance: So because you have a good group and everything, have you experienced any difficulties in selling or getting your honey to the market or anything like that?


>> Tanya Sumerel: From the group? No.

>> Kristina Lance: No.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or just any kind of road blocks?

>> Kristina Lance: The Cabbarus County club also does a booth at the fairground, Cabbarus Fairground, and so we, as a group, we all just bring our honey and everybody just volunteers time to man the booth.


And then the proceeds, you get your money back with a percentage going to the clubs, like a fundraiser type thing.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Okay, yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: It works out great.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So you got everybody’s honey up there. No one would say, well, this honey, this is my honey. No, you just put it up there and people go and they look and they buy and there’s no-


>> Kristina Lance: And then also at the Fest they do the same thing there.

>> Kristina Lance: So, yeah, no, it’s no problem, [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: So Charlotte’s growing in leaps and bounds, and I’ve noticed too that Concord is growing in leaps and bounds. Does that affect your hives or your ability to take care of your bees or your land for the bees or anything?


>> Kristina Lance: It hasn’t affected us personally that much now, but I think over time, like Mecklenburg, when you come in and their bulldozing 100 acres of trees and putting housing developments in, sure, that hurts. And it will, over time, like here you wouldn’t think well there’s not a lot of resource for bees here, but if you look at it, cuz I go and I look at Google Earth and see where I might put my bees.


>> Tanya Sumerel: And so we know right where our bees are. We see what’s around.

>> Kristina Lance: And you would think you would look for, like in the beginning I put hives in a place in Mt Pleasant because I looked at Google Earth and it’s like, look at all these fields and fields and fields of farm land.


Well, the problem was there’s nothing there for them. It’s corn and soybean. There’s nothing for them. You don’t have the hedgerows anymore like you used to in the old days. And they’re spraying everything with Round Up. So you’re better off having a place where there’s a lot of hardwood trees.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Not pine, cuz there’s nothing for them. So if you look at Google Earth from here, you can see there’s a lot of land around us, a lot of woodland, and the bees gather tulip poplar, blackberry. Don’t cut your grass.

>> Kristina Lance: Maple. Let the, what do you call it?


>> Tanya Sumerel: Let the clover and all the dandelions and all that grow.

>> Kristina Lance: Dandelions. People are out there spraying their dandelions. Bob will tell you no, no no. He’ll do that, no, no, no. Weed killer, weed killer, that’s what he does. You just wanna make sure there’s enough resource but, to answer your question, yes, over time, when they come in to put housing developments in of course it’s running everything out.


Your deer population.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or the solar farms.

>> Kristina Lance: Or the solar farms.

>> Tanya Sumerel: They put in there.

>> Kristina Lance: Massive solar farms that they’re putting in all down 601 near where some of my bees are at.

>> Tanya Sumerel: If they would put ground cover under those solar farms we’d be-


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, if they put ground cover.

>> Tanya Sumerel: From solar farms, I’ve just seen them. I don’t know a lot. I know they have the big sheets of-

>> Kristina Lance: Glass, the big sheets of glass, and then it’s just bare ground underneath. So then the bees don’t have anything.

>> Tanya Sumerel: They have nothing.


>> Kristina Lance: Gotcha, so it’s wiping out that land.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Right, so all the land that you clear, even having a yard, I’m not good at it now but if you’re out and you’re cutting your grass every day and you’re spraying Round Up to make you have a pretty lawn, well there’s nothing for the bees there.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or these people that have land and they’ll have, they’ll plant acres and acres of pine trees for timber. Well it’s good for them but it’s not good cuz there’s nothing for the bees. So to a bee, that’s a desert.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: But if you’ve got hardwood trees and farmland that they’re letting it grow up with flowers and weeds, that’s good for the bees.


>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: So Charlotte does tend to have some weather changes.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: How does that affect your bees?

>> Kristina Lance: It can hurt them. Like all this rain that we’ve had, we’ve had a Terrible season of rain and that’s kept the bees, not necessarily confined in their hive, but moisture.


You get a lot of moisture in your hive and cold weather doesn’t kill bees, it’s moisture that kills bees. So you’ve got to have ventilation, it’s like a chimney effect, you have to have your house ventilated. And if you get a lot of moisture and condensation build-up and the water drips down on the bees, they’re dead, they die.


So the weather effects, the cold [INAUDIBLE].

>> Tanya Sumerel: This area is that the freeze, once everything comes out in bloom and it’s wonder and then it freezes, that’s a setback.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And then rain, this time of year, this past month of rain, is really good. I’d rather that it rained now, than when the honey flows next month.


So rain all you want right now [LAUGH] and just not later.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: Because it washes the nectar out of the blooms, but.

>> Kristina Lance: So the bees during the wintertime, do they just mainly live in the hive, and are they working in there?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Well, bees never sleep.


>> Kristina Lance: And they never hibernate and sleep.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So in the wintertime, the bees work themselves to death during the spring, a bee’s lifespan is roughly six weeks.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s their lifespan, well, in the wintertime, there’s nothing for the bees to do. So they tend to live, they can live two or three months, because they’re not out working themselves to death.


>> Kristina Lance: Okay.

>> Tanya Sumerel: I mean bees work until they basically drop dead and so there’ll be a smaller cluster of bees in a hive. And their main job is to keep that small brood and the queen warm and so they’ll keep a hive roughly 92- 94 degrees year around.


>> Kristina Lance: They vibrate their body and their wings, they vibrate so that’s where their energy is going, so they’re consuming-

>> Tanya Sumerel: They’re consuming honey.

>> Kristina Lance: They’re consuming honey, and working because they’re vibrating and creating the heat, inside that little cluster and keeping-

>> Tanya Sumerel: So you wanna leave at least 20 to 40 pounds of honey on every hive and that’s for them to have, resource during the winter.


And then you check your bees all winter long, you basically go and pick up the back of the hive, just lift it up. If it feels like it’s got a heavy concrete block in it, it means they’ve probably got enough food. But if you lift it up and it’s light, you’d better feed them, because they’ll die within a matter of days.


>> Kristina Lance: So do you just give them like more honey back?

>> Tanya Sumerel: If you got the honey, you give them, like I have freezers that’s full of. Because hives that died and had honey in it, I’ll take it and put it in the freezer. I can put that on, you feed them sugar syrup, you feed them fondant, which is icing, sugar patties.


>> Kristina Lance: Praline patties

>> Tanya Sumerel: Praline patties, anything and a lot of times you put it on there. Even if they don’t need it you put it there, it’s like that’s just an extra resource, just in case.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, just so that they’re protected.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Like you might not have food in your cupboard, but if you have that one pack of crackers.



>> Kristina Lance: Same thing.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So then do you work with a lot of farmers in the area, like vegetable farmers and stuff?

>> Kristina Lance: Mm-hm.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Do you have hives on their property?

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, we have 12 different locations.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Like Curry was certified organic, and he asked us to put hives on his property and so that’s how we got two different places.


One on his personal property, one on a rented property that he was using, and so that’s how we did that. And it helped his tomatoes as much as the cucumbers and squash too, and then he sold at the market there, for a while. And then there’s also, think that’s it, there’s the farming, a lot of small gardeners.


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, small farms, not large.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Not big ones

>> Kristina Lance: Because there’s not a lot of big commercial farmers around.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And when you have a hive on somebody’s farm, do they have any responsibilities towards it? Or do you just go out there and take care of it?


>> Kristina Lance: We do it all, and I make sure that the grass is cut around the hive, so they don’t have to get close to the hive.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Okay.

>> Kristina Lance: So I kinda keep it cut and mowed and take care of that.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And I see, are those bee boxes right up there?


>> Kristina Lance: Mm-hm.

>> Tanya Sumerel: How close or far away from houses do you like for the bee boxes to be, or does it matter?

>> Kristina Lance: I like for them to be as far, or further than, if it’s on someone else’s property, I like it to be as far away from their house.


Not that it would bother them, I don’t want it to be around where they’re gonna be mowing close to it, or the kids are out playing. So I go look, and I make sure that it’s far enough away. But when a bee comes out of the hive, within a matter of five or ten feet, they’ll go up like 15 feet in the air and fly.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: We’ve had friends that had beehives actually up against the house.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Mecklenburg president, his hives are on his back porch [LAUGH].

>> Kristina Lance: Wow [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: On his deck.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah. [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: So he lives in a housing development, so he’s got hives sitting on his back deck.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow, I wonder if he would have any kind of complaints, or anything from neighbors about having hives?

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s it, if you live in a homeowner’s association, then you have to be careful. But legally, you can have I think, if I’m not mistaken, I just heard that you can have up to five hives on your property regardless.


So if you lived in downtown Charlotte, you can have five hives legally now. But you wanna be good neighbors, it’s like, I’ve got a lot of hives here. If you come here in May, I’ll have as many as two million bees flying around in this yard.

>> Kristina Lance: My goodness.


>> Tanya Sumerel: And my neighbors are very good and I make sure they get honey.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: I take care of my neighbors.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: And if they complained or if my bees were a nuisance, or are hurting them in any way, I would certainly move them. But so far [SOUND] knock on wood, we’ve been very fortunate and we haven’t had any complaints.


Had one neighbor, actually, a mile or so away, was complaining that they had bees in their swimming pool. And so they called me, wanted to know if they were my bees, and it’s like, I don’t know, I don’t know who she is. [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: And so I told them, I said the best thing to do is, cover your swimming pool up.


And leave it covered up for a week or so and the bees will find another location for water. And then uncover it, you’ll be fine. Because once the bees, like I put water up on the hill here, because our neighbor did have did have horses. So I put water, and once the bees find that, that’s where they’ll go to get water.


If it dries up-

>> Tanya Sumerel: They will look elsewhere.

>> Kristina Lance: They’ll go look out for another location, and once they find that, they will not go back here. I see.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So you want to make sure you keep water out for them.

>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow, I didn’t even know they drank water.


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or used water.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, they drink water, they take back to the hive. They use water to air condition the hive in a hot summer.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So in the winter they’re keeping it warm by bringing in, well in the summer, hot and the sun beating down on them and all those bodies inside of there.


They are using the water and their wings to make air conditioning.

>> Kristina Lance: They are standing on the front of the hive, on the landing board, at the front of the hive, they’re standing outside and they are fanning like crazy. And they are pushing the air into the hive to ventilate the hive, cuz they keep it basically 94 degrees.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Year round.

>> Kristina Lance: That’s crazy.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Hot summer, cold winter, it’s the same temp inside.

>> Kristina Lance: Now, that’s the core, where the core is.

>> Tanya Sumerel: It’s amazing how smart they are.

>> Kristina Lance: See, and that’s it. Once you start learning about it,

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: And that was me, I was like, I don’t like honey bees.


>> Tanya Sumerel: They sting me.

>> Kristina Lance: But once you start learning about them how unbelievable they are, you just can’t help but it’s-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Tell them about the moisture content.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, when they’re bringing a nectar in, and putting it down in the comb, and before they cap it over, they know that they have to get it below 18.6% moisture.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: Anything above 18.6%, the honey will ferment, you can make wine out of it. Well, they know when it’s down to below 18.6, they’ll cap it off.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: But they won’t do it until then.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s wild.

>> Kristina Lance: And how do they know that?


Hiw do they know to make the hexagon-

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH] It’s perfect shape though-

>> Kristina Lance: A honeycomb and they’re all exact, every one of them. They’re amazing, they are truly amazing-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: Creatures.

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: That’s why we love honey bees.

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: Is there anything that is an aspect of beekeeping that people kind of misunderstand or-


>> Tanya Sumerel: People think when they get stung, let’s just say yellow jackets. You go out in the yard and you, have you ever been stung by yellow jackets?

>> Kristina Lance: Do you know what yellow jackets are?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Maybe once.

>> Kristina Lance: Okay, they’ll sting you multiple times. And so if you get into a yellow jackets nest, they come out of the ground and they will cover you up and they’ll chase you as far as you wanna go.


And people think honey, that was a bee. They say-

>> Tanya Sumerel: That was a yellow jacket.

>> Kristina Lance: No, that was a yellow jacket and wasps that build on your, they sting multiple times.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s different.

>> Kristina Lance: Honeybee can only sting you one time, and it dies. So they don’t want to sting you, and they won’t sting you.


If you won’t swat at them, a honeybee won’t bother you. But that’s the misconception, that they think that all bees are the same.

>> Tanya Sumerel: No.

>> Kristina Lance: And they’re afraid of bees, and they are gonna swat at it.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Do you get stung dealing with the hives or anything?


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: How often do you get stung?

>> Kristina Lance: Not that often. I can be out there working like in next month or so, when I’m out there every single day working bees. And I work 100,000 bees, and I might get a sting, one or two stings.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: The most we’ve ever got stung was 38 times.

>> Tanya Sumerel: At one time.

>> Kristina Lance: At one time.

>> Tanya Sumerel: My goodness [LAUGH].

>> Kristina Lance: But that was because we were moving beehives and they will sting you through your pants and a lot of stuff like that. Because they were mad.


I mean you’ve got bees, you’re moving me, I don’t like to be moved. But usually, I think I’ve been stung maybe two or three times this year.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So far?

>> Kristina Lance: So far.

>> Tanya Sumerel: That’s not bad, no.

>> Kristina Lance: No, just getting started.

>> Tanya Sumerel: No, you wanna make sure you see, if I went out there without anything on.


I get stung every single day, multiple times.

>> Kristina Lance: Right.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Because I’m constantly treating them bad. [LAUGH] I’m pulling stuff, and I’m stealing stuff away from them.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGH]

>> Tanya Sumerel: Leave me bee.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, that’s it.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah a lot of people don’t understand the difference between the bees and other stinging insects.


And then a lot of people don’t realize just how the benefit of honey and pollen and-

>> Kristina Lance: The benefits of the bee sting.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or it’s called-

>> Kristina Lance: Really?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: Bee therapy.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Bee therapy, AP therapy and for arthritis that it helps.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So many people don’t realize that honey for wounds, is a great, in Europe, they’re using honey for their burn patients.


>> Kristina Lance: Wow.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Because bacteria cannot grow in honey.

>> Kristina Lance: It’s fantastic.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Okay, that makes sense.

>> Kristina Lance: I mean, people who are diabetic that losing their limbs. We have a physician in Valdez. The doctors can’t do anything, and actually, we just had a person this past week. The heel on their foot is rotten off.


And the doctor has recommended that he has his foot amputated. If he would go to this doctor in Valdez, there is a 90% or better chance that he could save that foot. Cuz what you do is you pact the wound full of honey. Well bacteria can’t grow and honey, and you can change that dressing two or three times a day and it will start healing.


I mean this is amazing, this doctor has come and spoke to our club numerous times. And he brings this projector, and it’s kind of gross to see these rotten-

>> Tanya Sumerel: The beforehand and-

>> Kristina Lance: But it’s amazing.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: It’s amazing.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And so does it have to be a particular type of honey, like store bought honey?


>> Kristina Lance: Don’t buy store bought honey. [LAUGH] But store bought honey is, and there’s probably some good ones out there, but store bought honey has been ultra-filtered. So they’ve pushed the honey through filters to take all of the pollen, everything out of it, and then they heat it up about 145 degrees.


So they make pretty honey, but there’s no benefit. It’s just basically you’re just buying sugar.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Sugar, sugar syrup, so just be careful.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, just be careful what you buy.

>> Tanya Sumerel: What it is.

>> Kristina Lance: But buy, if you can get it from a beekeeper, or find honey, I’m sure there’s honey in stores that says,


>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, better.

>> Kristina Lance: Pure, raw, what you want is raw, unfiltered honey.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: That’s it.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Gotcha.

>> Kristina Lance: Now, the manuka honey that’s sought in Australia or New Zealand, that’s FDA approved and that’s really sought after honey. But this doctor’s saying you take any honey as long as it’s raw and unfiltered.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, I heard that recently that if you eat local honey, it helps allergies.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And I had a doctor recently cuz I get bronchitis often. And she said, instead of taking cough take teaspoon of honey and it works better.

>> Kristina Lance: That’s right, it coats your throat.


>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: And then we sell this, we sell the Ceylon Cinnamon Cream. And we have a doctor in town that asks us you make that specifically for diabetic patients.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Really?

>> Kristina Lance: And we’re getting testimony after testimony of people coming off their medication or lower their A1C.


And it’s amazing, I mean it’s-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: I mean we have all these natural stuff and people take pills.

>> Tanya Sumerel: [LAUGH]

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah.

>> Kristina Lance: So, just kind of a couple concluding questions and I’ll, I’m sure you guys have things that you have to do for your bees and stuff.


Any advice you would give? To newbie farmers are people wanting to get in to, make sure they take the class.

>> Tanya Sumerel: You should really take the class.

>> Kristina Lance: And go to the club.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, take the beekeeping class and/or watch reliable YouTube videos on beekeeping. To get a feel for it before you ever buy your first hive of bees.


And then you might have a good chance of keeping them alive. That would be the number one thing.

>> Kristina Lance: Don’t be discouraged if they do die the first year. That’s just-

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, don’t be discouraged, you’re probably, there’s a 50/50 chance that you’re gonna lose your bees the first year or two.


But you’re learning like anything. Over the period of time you finally start understanding beekeeping.

>> Kristina Lance: And then find an older beekeeper and get a mentor.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah, we mentor people

>> Kristina Lance: And you were mentored when you first started.

>> Tanya Sumerel: So I have people who come and they’ll work with me a whole a day they just want to learn about bees and, to get beehives, yeah mentoring’s good.


>> Kristina Lance: And then, where do you see the future of your beekeeping? Do you want to keep expanding or

>> Tanya Sumerel: No.

>> Kristina Lance: [LAUGHS]

>> Tanya Sumerel: No, we’re cutting back.

>> Kristina Lance: I’d like to I still wanna have 100 plus hives, or 100 hives, but 200 hives is a little much for two people to work.


>> Tanya Sumerel: I mean, if we were younger or something-

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah if I was young-

>> Tanya Sumerel: We could hire and expand, yes.

>> Kristina Lance: I’d love to.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Yeah. So that’s our option we either hire now,

>> Kristina Lance: Mm-mm

>> Tanya Sumerel: Or we cut back so yeah, we can say, we’re gonna cut back.


>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, but if I was younger, we were younger. I would probably go to Florida in the winter and raise bees and bring ‘ back here in the Summer

>> Tanya Sumerel: Okay

>> Kristina Lance: And sell. And expand I’d love to have a thousand hives.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Wow.

>> Kristina Lance: But at this point in our life and we’re doing it, it is a small business but we’re doing it for fun.


A little extra income.

>> Tanya Sumerel: We’re retired so that’s-

>> Kristina Lance: A hundred, I would say a hundred hives is a good number to have.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Okay, and then any kind of comments on the future of farming in Charlotte-Concord, anything like that that you see happening?

>> Kristina Lance: I know it’s, I know it’s hard for farmers.


We’re not talking bee keeping we are talking just farmers. I can see that it is really hard because being at the market for what three years now the farmers market, the ones that have come in and try to make a go of it and they’ve had to give it up and get regular jobs.


Because you just can’t support themselves or a family, on a small farm, it has to be much larger to make it worth while and it’s really sad to see. I feel for them, some of the young folks trying to make it.

>> Tanya Sumerel: Any other questions that I should have asked you that I have not?


>> Kristina Lance: No, you-

>> Tanya Sumerel: It looks like you’ve covered it [LAUGH].

>> Kristina Lance: And besides Bob, and some of the other names you’ve given me, anybody else that you think I should talk to?

>> Tanya Sumerel: Well Bob Lockwelder is, like I say, he’s the guru around here that can, and lots of years of experience and knowledge galore.


I don’t know if you wanna contact Nancy or Greg, the bee inspectors.

>> Kristina Lance: He’s the state bee inspector.

>> Tanya Sumerel: They’re the two that we know, really good.

>> Kristina Lance: If you want to go to the state level. Yeah, and talk to the, the inspectors you could do that. Or the lab the bee lab and so.


>> Tanya Sumerel: Call the North Carolina state bee keeper association, North Carolina apiary. You’ll find it when you go start googling.

>> Kristina Lance: I just have his number, I don’t have the office.

>> Tanya Sumerel: And I’ve got a Greg’s number if you’d like to have it.

>> Kristina Lance: Yeah, that be lovely. Let me go ahead and stop the recording just that way it’s not on.

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