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Local

Jasper County honey maker is the bees knees

A Jasper County resident is bringing the sweet nectar from bees to the local farmers’ market in Newton, but to him it’s a hobby grounded in real-world application.

Bob Peters has been taking care of bees and making honey for the past three years but the way he got started was a little different than what most people might expect.

“My stepson has got bad allergies and local honey is really good for allergies. I thought well, this is gonna be a neat little hobby,” Peters said.

Peters currently has 10 hives buzzing with bees who go to and fro making honey. But they aren’t just located on his property. Peters said he has six hives, apart from the four at his house, spread out between family and friend’s properties. Some hives he even built himself.

“It’s about half the cost and they are unique. They are not your typical white bee hives you see,” Peters said.

What began as a hobby has grown Peters said he has more than 200,000 bees at the hives just at his home.

“It’s something that you are either gonna try it and say, ‘No I don’t like it,’ or ‘Yeah, I love it,’” Peters said.

Going through the process of keeping bees and harvesting honey would take quite awhile to fully explain, but Peters seems to enjoy it even though he works a full-time job at the same time. He still finds the necessary hours to take care of the sweet treat makers.

“It’s a labor of love,” Peters said.

While bees do provide the world with honey, they perform a far more important job than just making a sweets for everyone to enjoy. Without bees, some things people take for granted might become more difficult.

“Without bees pollination, your fruit trees and other stuff they will still pollinate but they won’t do as well,” Peters said.

While most people know bee populations are struggling, Peters said the colony collapse disorder and varroa mites afflicting bees there are ways that the common person can make life a little easier for bees.

“A lot of people will do a little backyard bee hive in their flower gardens or near their vegetable gardens and they make a big difference ... They definitely help a lot,” Peters said.

While Peters said in the beginning he was giving the honey to family and friends, he decided to start selling his honey which can be purchased at the farmers’ market or on his Facebook page. The sale has brought more benefits than just extra revenue like more business ventures.

“(Bridgehouse Coffee) is going to be featuring our honey in some of their drinks,” Peters said

Bees are more than just those buzzing critters in the summertime, and Peters said bees aren’t aggressive and scary like most people may have been led to believe.

“When you see a swarm of bees you know don’t be scared. Don’t kill them,” Peters said.

For more information on how to create your own pollinator-friendly environment you can visit iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Iowas-Wildlife/Pollinators.

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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