Northwoods Adventure: Honey Harvesting
If you travel just a few miles southwest of Bemidji, you will see a sign that reads “Honey Bee Road,” and at the end of that road, you will find Lester Hiltz, who is a busy bee harvesting honey from his 14 bee hives – home to around 60 to 80 thousand honey bees each. Lester got into the honey bee business as a way to help his garden grow.
While there is some economic benefit to beekeeping, there is also an ecological importance to maintaining the environment.
One of the many joys for Lester about beekeeping is being able to share his knowledge and educate beginners and help grow interest in this important hobby.
Beekeeping isn’t considered a demanding hobby because it only requires attention a few times over its five-month season. However, when it’s harvest time, be ready for some hard work.
When it is time to harvest, it requires a lot of time spinning and sifting the honey in a very hot room. This room that Lester uses is around 98 degrees, and this is where Lester cuts the bees wax, spins the frames, extracts and sifts all the honey. Out of the 14 hives, Lester expects an estimated 2,000 lbs. of honey. Despite all the hard work, Lester says that after 27 years in the bee business, he still gets some surprises.
For anyone who is curious about bee keeping or is a novice at the hobby, its best to ask questions. Lester invites questions, you can contact him at (218) 556-2534.