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Mike the Gardener

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Al HildrethIn this week's episode, Mike travels south to North Carolina and has an in depth conversation with expert bee keeper Al Hildreth of Shamrocks Buzzy Bee.

Al was certified by NC State University in 2008 as a master beekeeper. He has served three years as Vice-President of the Johnston County Beekeeping Association and 4 years on the Clayton Farm and Community Market Board.

Al has had as many as 35 beehives and today, with his wife Kathy, they own, as well as a brick and mortar storefront located in Four Oaks, NC

In this episode, Al is going to fill us in on how he got started as a hobby bee keeper, then turned it into a successful business, and all of the information you need to get into bee keeping yourself.

That, and so much more on this week's Vegetable Gardening Podcast!

In this episode, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Shamrocks Buzzy Bee
  • Getting started in bee keeping
  • Signing up for a bee keeping course
  • Hive equipment
  • Honey bee biology
  • Harvesting your honey
  • Working with concerned neighbors
  • How to keep your bees alive from year to year
  • Seasonal management
  • Queen bees/Queen Breeders

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Show Sponsors:

About this week's Guest, Al Hildreth:

[pic1] As a beekeeper, I have hives throughout Johnston County, NC. We started in beekeeping in 2008 with two bee hives and expanded to 10 hives in 2009. Currently in 2013, we have 25 hives.

Our customers love our local honey. Our bees are kept with a natural method. We go into our bees every two weeks to check how they are doing. We only treat our bees as needed not twice a year like many beekeepers do. The last time I treated a hive for varroa and tracheal mites was in the Spring of 2009. I have used powdered sugar to control mites and use Honey Bee Healthy to keep the hives going healthy. Honey Bee Healthy is described here if you have further interest: . Although we do not spray around our bee hives, honey bees can fly up to a 5 mile radius so we cannot guarantee the honey is organic honey. We can only trust the honey bees will bring back good and healthy sweet stuff to make the honey we enjoy.

My hives are pure and natural without contaminants, but not certified organic. I place the bees on farms with farmers who give extra attention to how they control pests to their crops. They are fully aware that honeybees are struggling to survive and they are playing a part in their survival. The farmers benefit from pollination and I benefit from having a place to keep the bees. The farmers I work with have smaller farms as large monoculture crops can make the bees weak. They are like us, they need a diverse diet.

Since our honey bees are located on small farms, and not large monoculture farms, our honey is Wildflower honey. This means, the honey bees are allowed to collect what is ever blooming and bring it back to the hive. They do pollinate the crops, but collect more nectar from wild flowers.

Previous Podcast Episodes

About Mike the Gardener
I am the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts.
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