Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco beekeeper oversees work that makes honey by the drum

He has been stung so many times he can't keep track. The worst was when he got stung on his tongue. "I was talking to somebody and the bee flew in my mouth," Ben Blocker said. Even after the countless stings, however, he said you never really get used to it. "It always hurts."

Related News/Archive

Blocker, 32, is a third-generation beekeeper, fifth-generation Floridian and the southern operations manager for W. Fisher Bee Farm, a company that is split between Lewistown, Pa., and Dade City.

The company handles about 10,000 bee hives between its two locations. Each hive usually houses around 30,000 to 50,000 bees during peak times. Potentially, that's up to 500 million "employees."

W. Fisher Bee Farm wholesales honey by the drum, but most of its revenue comes from paid pollination — hives for hire to farmers looking to improve their crops. Each February about 8,000 hives are shipped to California to pollinate almond trees. The remaining hives usually stay in Florida to help boost the watermelon crop and harvest the nectar of citrus trees.

Raising and tending to these seemingly tireless insects is a labor-intensive endeavor, but Blocker said the beekeepers' greatest challenge is not avoiding being stung. It's keeping the bees alive. Everything from mites to intestinal diseases can threaten the insects' health.

The next season runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31, when the bees will produce local honey mostly from the Brazilian pepper plant.

The farm sells the honey to independent retailers. Some buyers believe the raw honey can, over time, immunize them from seasonal allergies because it contains pollen from local plants.

Pasco beekeeper oversees work that makes honey by the drum 08/19/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays appear close to landing Marlins shortstop Hechavarria

    Blogs

    Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.
  2. What to watch this week: Catch these titles before they leave Netflix in July

    Blogs

    It's been less than a week since summer officially started, and I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for cooler weather to get here. It's too hot outside to function (looking at you, 116 degree Arizona), but Netflix has us covered with a boatload of new TV shows and movies coming in July. Unfortunately, that …

    Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight in 1989's Batman.
  3. Do you need to vote in city elections to run for mayor of St. Pete? Jesse Nevel says no

    Blogs

    Jesse Nevel is running for mayor. But, voting records show, he has never cast a ballot in a St. Petersburg city election.

    Jesse Nevel is running for mayor, but has never voted in a city election
  4. St. Petersburg man arrested for breaking into 12 homes being tented for termites

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 36-year-old former pest control worker was arrested for burglarizing 12 homes over the last five weeks, according to St. Petersburg police.

    David Cooper, 26, was arrested for breaking into 12 homes tented for termites over five weeks, according to St. Petersburg Police. [Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Video: Gator snaps at photographer who got too close at Paynes Prairie

    Wildlife

    Perhaps this guy should have just used a zoom lens.

    A video that was posted June 17 on Facebook by Ben Boukari Jr. shows the gator lurching at the photographer, causing him to stumble behind some shrubbery as it chomped at a tripod and rested near his backpack before staring him down. [Facebook]