Thanks to a Wallyhood tip from Helen the Gardener, I’ve just learned about a new honey company that’s being launched, in part, right here in Wallingford.
Lower Wallingford resident, Kevin Gow, and his business partner Krista Conner, announce the launch of Beek’s Honey. That’s right. Beek’s — shorthand for bee keeper or bee geek. Kevin is both, so the name definitely fits. Beek’s doesn’t have an online presence yet, but you can sample their product and pick up a jar of it at Helen’s next garden sale (usually held Saturday and Sunday mornings at 3628 Burke Ave).
Beek’s will eventually sell two kinds of honey: local honey from various small to mid-size apiaries in the area. It’s a general wildflower honey, sweet and light. You can purchase it now at Helen’s, or contact Kevin directly: kevin at beekshoney dot com. The second kind of honey will be “ultra-local” from right here in Wallingford, including Kevin’s own hives near Burke & 36th. It’s not ready quite yet due to Seattle’s late onset of summer, but should be available this fall.
Kevin was kind enough to share some bee facts with me while we chatted from inside a mosquito tent on his deck while hundreds of bees swirled two stories high in the sunlight:
- Bees live about 5 weeks in the summer, longer in the winter.
- They are vegetarian, but will bite humans if disturbed. Generally, they don’t both with us. I tested this theory in Kevin’s back yard, and he seems to be absolutely correct about that.
- Wasps and hornets do bite.
- Bees have hair and wasps/hornets don’t. So if you’re close enough to a flying striped bug to see whether it has hair or not, you know how loud to scream and run. (Joking!)
- Bees generally travel about 5-6 miles if they have to, but around here they don’t really have to go that far.
- Kevin has two bee varieties in his hives: Italian Bees which are a sub-species of the western honey bee, and New World Carniolans which were bred to do well in US winters.
Kevin also shared with me the coolest moment he’s had as a beekeeper. He said that his successful bait hive was a lot of fun to watch. Bait hives are used to attract swarms that are on the move, looking for new homes. Beekeepers can watch activity in the bait hives & can predict, fairly confidently, when new hive members will move in. Kevin’s prediction was off by only 15 minutes earlier this year when 15,000 bees moved in in under a half hour. The entire block must’ve looked like a scene out of The Swarm. But Kevin says honey bee swarms aren’t to be feared. Actually, bees are pretty busy when they’re moving to a new hive and they don’t really care what humans are doing. But he does warn his neighbors ahead of time, just in case someone is concerned when the skies turn black.
Not only does Kevin raise bees and make honey, he also provides local extraction services. If you’ve got hives & need honey extracted, drop him a note. He’s also ready to talk with local retailers interested in selling local honey. Interested? Intrigued? Drop Kevin an email: kevin at beekshoney dot com. Ultra-local honey should be available a little later this fall, after the bees decide summer is over.