CRESTVIEW More than two dozen residents attending the Crestview Public Library's First Tuesday lecture now know more about beekeeping.


CRESTVIEW More than two dozen residents attending the Crestview Public Library's First Tuesday lecture now know more about beekeeping.



Maj. Ken Bundrick, a senior Crestview Police officer, traded his patrolman's cap for a pith helmet with netting for the meeting, during which he explained the hobby's dos and don'ts.



He also displayed several items that Bundrick Honey Farms bees produce, including honey "your simplest sugar," which the digestive system doesn't have to break down, he said.



Other products include bee pollen, beeswax and hand cream made from propolis, a waxy resin bees produce to seal holes in the hive.



Beekeeping 101



Bundrick offered advice for aspiring beekeepers, whose initial equipment investment can expect to be between $500 and $600 for a two-hive operation. Need-to-know information about beekeeping is as follows:



"Stay off YouTube," Bundrick said. "There's so much bad information there. Someone thinks he's reinvented beekeeping. He uploads a video but forgets to go back and add, 'But my bees died.'"



Suit up. "Nothing ruins things for a beekeeper more than not wearing protective gear," Bundrick said. "There's nothing like having a mean bee around your nose. If people say it doesn't hurt to get stung, they're lying." Start-up equipment a wooden hive, protective clothes and a colony of bees costs about $500.



Blossoms on north county gallberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes are bees' favorites. Bees also make honey from cotton blossoms, but beekeepers dislike it because it granulates quickly.



Planting flowers particularly attracts honeybees, but home gardeners should avoid insecticides.



A hive can produce between about 60-80 pounds of honey a year, Bundrick said. It takes bees about 20 pounds of honey to make one pound of beeswax.



Most wild honeybee colonies have fallen victim to insecticides and organic pests like mites; Bundrick said it's up to amateur and professional beekeepers to keep the species strong.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.