meet the bee guy

Guy Hodges is not your typical Westchester next-door neighbor. This affable apiarist has a wealth of knowledge about bees. He enjoys sharing his passion for maintaining bee hives, processing raw honey and making beeswax candles.

A skilled carpenter, cabinet maker and wood carver by trade, Guy got into beekeeping after a woman dropped off a supply of wooden boxes. “She was cleaning out her garage and thought I might want to re-purpose the wood,” recalled Guy. “But when I looked closer at the donated wooden boxes, I realized that this was beekeeping equipment.”

Guy consulted books about beekeeping, including The Queen and I by Wilton, CT author Edward A.Weiss. Weiss became Guy’s mentor in starting his own bee hives. That was more than 22 years ago. Guy continues to learn about the craft of beekeeping and honey production through beekeeper associations and training with the Eastern Apicultural Society. “The beekeepers I’ve met are friendly and outgoing,” says Guy. “They’re the nicest group of people I’ve ever dealt with.”

The owner of Bee Guy Apiaries, LLC, based in South Salem, Guy sets up and maintains 140 bee hives for clients in North Salem, South Salem, Pound Ridge, Bedford, Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and Norwalk. Guy maintains 10 of his own bee hives at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River.

The prime season for honey bee activity is March through November. At the beginning of each season, Guy re-supplies hives with new bees. Each three-pound package contains 13,000 honey bees and a marked queen bee. In peak season, a bee hive can support 40,000 to 60,000 bees. Over the spring, summer and fall, Guy checks each hive, harvests and processes the raw wildflower honey, and then delivers the honey to his clients in one and two pound glass jars.

According to Guy, the size of a resident’s property is not as important as the amount of pollen and nectar producing flowers surrounding the property. Wildflowers, clover and dandelions are also important for honey bees. Bees typically travel in a three-mile radius to forage for nectar and pollen.

Honey bees are not the same as bumble bees. Honey bees are slender with almost translucent wings. Bumble bees are larger, round and fuzzy with distinctive yellow and black coloring. Honey bees make the only honey that humans can digest.

“Beekeepers are like farmers,” says Guy. “Bees can be affected by weather, predators and pesticides.” Guy explained that bees can suffer if the summer temperatures are too hot. If there is too much rain, the nectar produced by most flowering plants will be washed away and not be available for the bees to feed. Beekeepers also have to be vigilant to protect hives from invasive insects.

Bee Guy Apiaries produces Kitchawan Gold raw honey. Guy proudly sells his wildflower honey at locations in Westchester and Fairfield counties, including Gossett Brothers Nursery in South Salem and Nature’s Temptations in Ridgefield, CT. Guy sells honey, hand-dipped and molded beeswax candles, and beekeeping supplies at Copia Home and Garden Center on Route 123 in South Salem.

Raw wildflower honey is a delicious ingredient for cooking and baking. “My wife makes a honey-glazed chicken to die for,” says Guy. “I also like to eat honey straight off the spoon!”

Guy Hodges is a married father of three and grandfather of five. He is a Vietnam Veteran, carpenter, craftsman, life-long learner and an enthusiastic resource on the business of bees. You can reach The Bee Guy at 914-763-3211.

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