Beekeeping was Eddie Carrol’s hobby

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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From the 1970 files is this wonderful story about Eddie Carroll’s hobby of raising bees.  This is a wonderful hobby with such a sweet reward for your efforts.

Keeping bees would not appeal to most persons as a hobby.  However, Eddie Carroll has found them both interesting and profitable.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

A truck driver by profession, Carroll began his work with bees approximately 10 years ago.  He works with them on his off days and has acquired 35-40 hives.

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Carroll got his start in the bee business when he purchased two hives of bees.  “I had always liked honey and was always buying it.  I decided to try keeping bees and bought the hives from the man whom I was buying honey,” Carroll said.  The number of hives was increased as the bees swarmed each year.

Each year when he ‘robs’ the hives, Carroll gets about two gallons of honey per hive.  A small amount of this is sold, but most of what is not used by the Carroll’s is given away.

Hives are robbed in the summer.  At one time, Carroll was robbing them twice a year but now robs them only once.  He explained that when the hives are robbed twice yearly, the bees must be fed to keep them from starving.  They will eat the honey and wax from the robbing’s.  They can also be fed sweetened water.

Carroll keeps yellow bees and says they are not as bad to sting as the wild black bees.  He has been stung thousands of times over the past years and has built up some immunity to the stings.  During the week he was robbing the hives recently, he received approximately 20 stings, enough to be fatal to most persons.

The life span off the worker bees is three days.  The supply is kept plentiful by the constant hatching of bees.  Young queens are kept killed off to prevent swarming.  The queen and drones live in one compartment of the hives while workers build cones and make honey in the rest of the hives.

When it comes time to rob the hives, Carroll does it without protective clothing.  He lifts the tops of the hives, removes the racks containing the cones with honey and puts in empty racks.  The cones are then cut off  the racks, put in to a tub, and strained into a barrel.  The barrel contains two strainers with a third over the mouth of the jug so that all honey is strained three times.

“It is interesting to watch the bees work,” Carroll commented.  He has one hive with a glass side so that the work of the bees is clearly visible.  “You have to spend a little time each day with the bees,” Carroll commented.  “If this is impossible, visits as close together as possible should be made.  This keeps the bees familiar with you and makes them less likely to sting.”

“When the bees are ready to swarm, they make a different sound,” Carroll noted.  “They will congregate over the outside of the hive and follow the new queen to her destination.  They then hang onto a limb, overhanging roof, or other structure and can be placed in a hive from here.”

Carroll plans to go into the business full time when he retires in several years.  He has the bees in an orchard near the house.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.