Leawood Beekeeper’s Raw, unfiltered Local Honey
If you ever stop to wonder where the food you eat comes from, it might surprise you that a significant proportion is provided by bees in one way or another. Unfortunately, honeybees are disappearing in record numbers, but people like Kristin Simeroth, of Leawood, are avid beekeepers, and their efforts help save these pollinators.
Kristin has not always been a beekeeper. Several years ago, Kristin and her husband purchased some acreage 40 miles from Leawood because they wanted a place for their three boys to be able to go and experience the country. She had wanted bees for quite some time, and finally, in 2014, she took the plunge, ordered two hives and bravely jumped in.
That first winter was harsh, and she lost both hives. She decided to try again and bought three packages of bees from a local supplier. This time, she achieved success. Since then, she expanded to four hives at her farm, and then she moved a hive to a friend’s house in Stillwell. Currently, she has five hives in Stillwell, four at her farm and would like to grow her business to 20 hives.
Kristin says that bees need to have blooming plants and water. At her farm, she has a stream and a small pond to take care of their water needs. Both properties are filled with gardens and orchards, so the bees have plenty of plants to pollinate. In return, the gardens are generating record amounts of produce. She also planted huge patches of pollinator plants near the hives where beautiful flowers of all types grow, providing a bee utopia.
According to Kristin, beekeeping is very hot work and requires a lot of observation and intuition to ensure the bees are not diseased or the hive is failing. In the hot summer weather, she has to wear a thick bee suit with a hat and netting when she uses the smoker to distract the bees while she inspects the hive. During the inspection, she opens the hive and looks for eggs, larvae or capped brood—where the babies incubate. This inspection tells her the queen is alive and doing her job. Finally, she checks to ensure that the bees are building up their winter supply of honey and pollen so they can survive. Kristin enjoys honey harvesting but says it is very important not to take too much or the hive will not have enough honey to survive the winter and will starve.
Kristin has been so successful with her bees that she sells her own brand of organic honey, Pink Bee Lady. She sells raw, unfiltered local honey, and, this summer, she plans on making lavender-infused honey in addition to her pure bottled honey which is straight from the comb to the jar. She says local honey is wonderful for allergies and has noticed her seasonal allergies have been better since she started eating it. She sells honey via Facebook, email or at Full Bloom Boutique in Martin City.
For anyone wanting to take up beekeeping, Kristin recommends classes at Johnson County Community College, which offers a beekeeping series. Beekeeping for Dummies, Beekeepers Bible and Bee Culture Magazine are helpful too. Kristin is always happy to share her love of beekeeping with anyone that has questions or want to observe her working with the hives. Contact her through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find her on Facebook, Facebook.com/PinkBeeLady.