UT Beekeeping Society harvests, sells honey

Hayden Baggett

UT’s BEEVO Beekeping Society will sell bottles of their honey this Wednesday and Thursday on the West Mall.

The three-year-old society harvested the honey in mid-October, and prices for bottles have yet to be decided. Society President Richard Horak said their honey supply is limited to the 48 pounds they collected this year.

“It was a pretty average honey harvest, I would say – not big, not small,” biology senior Horak said. “We wanted to harvest more, but one of the hives we wanted to harvest from was being a little mean, so we didn’t open them up.”

Horak said the society relies on 20 core members and an extensive network of semi-involved participants to maintain the bees and harvest the honey, which they then sell every fall. 

Wearing protective gear, these members tend to three hives containing between 10 and 15 thousand bees, Horak said. He said they operate out of a 30- by 30-feet space located on Speedway next to the petroleum engineering building.

Rhetoric and writing senior Hayley Wood is a core member of the BEEVO Beekeeping Society. Wood said harvesting is a time-consuming process where they remove the bee’s excess honey.

“We take frames that are completely full, and then we have an extractor that’s basically a mechanical centrifuge,” Wood said. “You place two frames in it, you spin it, a lot of the honey gets wicked off and then it falls into the chamber.”

Before bottling, Wood said they also filter the honey to remove wax and unwanted residue.

This week will be the third time the society has sold their honey harvest.

“At our first honey harvest, we made around $300,” Horak said. “We’re expecting similar numbers for (this year), but I haven’t decided on the prices for the honey yet.”

In the past, Horak said they sold small bottles of honey for $5 and large bottles for $8.

Plan II senior Seamus Hawley said he has purchased a bottle before and plans on buying one again.

“The diligence that they take into their production and the care that’s taken with the bees is what makes it distinctive,” Hawley said.

Hawley said there is nothing he dislikes about the honey, and he uses it on everything from salmon to toast.

“It’s very viscous, and the taste is very good,” Hawley said. “Also, knowing that it’s locally sourced and that everything was done at UT is an incentive, too.”