Tim's Travels: Sweet as Honey

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

It's an industry often forgotten here in Wisconsin but it plays a big role in our economy. Beekeeping is growing in popularity all over the state.

A local teacher has been doing it for years and he's giving Tim an all-access pass to his operation.

That noise can only mean one thing.

“I always try to be very careful,” said Dan Curran owner of Dancing Honey Bee farm.

Today, we're getting up close and personal with thousands of honey bees!

Before we get too close, we have to take precautions to avoid getting stung.

“You can pick your hat there,” Dan instructs Tim.

“Sometimes they sneak in (under the face net) but I think you'll be alright,” says Dan. “And what happens if they sneak in? Tim asks. “Pinch 'em,” Dan responds. “Seriously? Like pinch 'em and kill 'em?” Tim wonders “Yup, that's what I do. And the number one thing is do not panic,”

Dan Curran runs a commercial beekeeping operation in Mt. Horeb.

“I get stung a lot,”

Beekeeping isn't exactly a lucrative business.

“I wouldn't say its an easy way to get rich,” Dan laughs. .

But it's crucial to our economy. And for this high school science teacher it's also his obsession.

“Anytime free time that I have I often think about honey bees,”

Dan is showing us inside a colony to check out the hive.

“So they first thing you do is you take off there's an outer cover,” he explains. “They tend to talk about bees as one big super organism,”

Most of the honey has already been harvested for the year. Right now, the bees are getting ready for the cold weather.

“They are preparing the honey so that they can keep it year round and that's their energy source throughout the winter,”

Dan says Wisconsin has the 10th largest beekeeping economy in the country with nearly 60,000 hives.

“To be a successful bee keeper, you really gotta know how to manage your bees properly,”

He says these and other insects are an invaluable part of agriculture.

“And about a third of the food that you eat you can thank an insect for it, that pollinated that crop,”

And that's what the buzz is all about.

“She's a good queen though,” Dan says of his top bee “Queen Christine!” Tim responds.

To learn more about beekeeping in the Dan County area visit www.madbees.org.

Also, to learn more about Dan's operation in Mt. Horeb, check out his website at www.dancingbeehoneyfarmllc.com. And his facebook page at www.facebook.com/dancingbeehoneyfarmllc

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