The bees are buzzing in Brighton! Year-round, in fact. But it’s a short season for honey in upstate New York, with just over sixty days of honey flow.
Down the road from the University of Rochester, tucked away in a wooded area, we met Ward Graham tending to the bees in his backyard.
“I started beekeeping five years ago,” Ward tells us. “My brother got me into it. I didn’t even know it was a fashionable thing.”
“I’m an engineer. I love the challenges.”
Ward cares for an actively growing population of honeybees at Brighton Honey. He has about a dozen boxes, with some of the larger boxes holding over 50,000 bees.
Keeping each of the individual colonies in check is one bee. “The queens lay over 1,000 eggs per day,” Ward tells us. “She’s so busy that the other bees have to force feed her.”
It seems like a lot, until you factor in that the typical lifespan of a honeybee is around 42 days. Remarkably, bees produce only one teaspoon of honey over their entire lifetime.
Brighton Honey produced almost 400 pounds of honey last year.
Ward prides himself on not using any chemicals, pesticides, or antibiotics. “Even the paints used on the hive boxes are really good, with low volatility.”
How does Ward keep his hives pest-free? “The mice try to get into the hives in the winter. But I have a very active, healthy cat,” he laughs.
In between his day job and his backyard beekeeping business, Ward also volunteers his time rescuing bee hives, often cutting hives out of houses and ensuring proper care of the bees.
When we asked Ward if he gets stung frequently, he just laughed. “I’m really careful.”
Look for Brighton Honey on our shelves this summer!