The main Booger Hill Bee Company apiary is located north of Athens. The areas where our bees forage encompass a watershed that feeds the Broad and Oconee rivers. This basin contains rolling and steep hillsides, wetlands as well as river bottoms. Here is an enormous range of native trees, shrubs and other flowering plants. The diversity of blossoms provides a rich stream of nectar and pollens throughout the spring and fall.
We maintain a number of bee outyards across the Georgia Piedmont. These outyards are located in places with names like Furnace Creek, Roger’s Mill, Wolf’s Branch and Mill Shoals. We limit their size to 10 to 15 hives. It is our belief that foraging competition between honey bee colonies as well as with native pollinators should be maintained at levels that encourage a thriving community of each.
The biggest threat to our bees is the Varroa destructor, a small mite that has devastated much of the honey bee population world-wide. We use selected queen bees that have demonstrated levels of tolerance to this mite. We periodically check the mite populations in each of our hives. On those occasions that a colony requires treatment we use the naturally occurring compound thymol. Thymol is an extract from the herb thyme. This compound is effective. Unfortunately it is also labor intensive, which is why few commercial beekeepers use it.
We are committed to teaching interested people the fundamentals of beekeeping. Our Beekeeping for Beginners Class is one avenue we’ve chosen to help beekeeping newcomers become successful beekeepers. The classes, consisting of seven modules, provide the background, practical training and hands on experience. This is a unique in-depth program that provides support and guidance that cover the entire annual cycle involved in the art of beekeeping and honey production.
Respect for the honey bee and important work it does in our world, sharing timeless beekeeping skills, and the production of pure unprocessed wild flower honey is what we are all about.
After working for thirty years in the medical equipment industry, I decided that it was time for a change. I’d spent my working career helping to boost the bottom line in several companies, large and small, and now I wanted to do something meaningful. Having a passion for plants, at age 50 I returned to school at the University of Georgia and began to work on a degree in horticulture. In the process, I took an elective ‘Bee Biology and Management’ taught by Keith Delaplane and was bitten by the bug…figuratively and literally.
Bio: Dan Harris
Over the past decade I have grown my bee business and expanded its offering from honey production to teaching. I believed that there was an unmet need for beginners to learn basic beekeeping. I organized a comprehensive program that gives the aspiring beekeeper, in orderly steps with hands on exposure, the fundamentals needed to establish and maintain a colony of honey bees.
The Legend of Booger Hill
If you’re my age, 50+, and were raised in the South you’ll recognize the term booger as referring to a spirit or ghost. The story I heard is that during the late 1800s and early 1900s local farmers brought their corn to Roger’s Mill in horse and mule drawn wagons. Farmers coming from the south would travel along a ridge-hugging path above the South Fork Broad River. On the climb up a small slope on this path their teams would balk. The animals would struggle to turn away and often refused to cross the hill. These weren’t skittish creatures. They were mature, work hardened farm mules and horses that were calm in the harness, at least until they had to cross this hill. It became common knowledge that the hill was haunted. Many of the farmers chose the longer route to Roger’s Mill to avoid crossing Booger Hill.