backyard beekeeping, manuka honey, honeybee crisis

Local EMT Also Third Generation Apiarist

Jason Smith hands out business cards for his honey business that say “Eat honey, my child, for it is good” which comes from Proverbs 24:13. Although Smith is a local beekeeper and honey entrepreneur, he keeps himself busy by working as an EMT and when he isn’t on doing he is working in his bee boxes, learning more about bees or even bottling honey. “My kids swear that the bees are in my DNA,” Smith said in an interview with Star-Telegram.com

Smith is a third generation apiarist or someone who keeps honey bees in order to collect honey and other products from their hives and although he grew up in Beaumont, Texas he moved to Weatherford 14 years ago. Smith recalls his grandfather harvesting honey as a means to support his family during the Great Depression. “They were really poor,” he recalled. “One day they had a tree that blew over following a storm. In that tree was a swarm of bees.”

Smith said his grandparents took the hive and the colony of honey bees and maintained it, using it for honey that would then be used as a natural sweetener. Additionally, they sold the honey they had leftover in town to help make their financial ends meet. “Years later my grandfather and father worked construction putting in pipelines and high-lines. Whenever they cut down a tree that had a bee hive in it, they’d put on a rain suit – they didn’t have bee suits – catching the bees, placing them into a water barrel, and taking them home to begin a new colony.”

After growing up in a small town, Smith was ready to break away and leave that simple lifestyle behind him. “You don’t want to do the things the way they they’ve always been done,” he said. “But, then you get married, have children and you begin to realize that just maybe the ‘small town thing’ isn’t so bad,” Smith said. After moving from Beaumont, Smith and his family ended up in Arlington but still craved the simpler, small town life – that is when they moved to Weatherford and planted a garden.

“Strangely, though the fruit trees just weren’t producing,” Smith said and that is when he noticed there were no bees to pollinate the flowers. “I began talking with my wife about getting a colony of bees when one day I received a frantic call from her telling me a swarm had shown up at our house,” Smith said. Smith took the opportunity to collect the swarm in a bee box and has been beekeeping ever since.

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