Made On Delmarva: Victory Garden Apiary

Being as busy as bee, is a phrase that Jim Leether knows very well. The last four years he's been producing and bottling his own honey.

"The largest harvest I did this year was 300 pounds, it has gotten larger every time,' says Leether.

However, Leether can't take all the credit. The ones putting in the majority of the work are the ones buzzing around. Jim tells us he's always had a passion for beekeeping and got his start when a friend of his asked him for a favor.

"Apparently a colony of bees had moved into his tool shed, and had been there for a couple of months, and once we figured out they were honey bees we removed them out of his shed," says Leether.

Although his friend wanted them gone, beauty is in the eye of the 'bee-holder' and that's exactly what Jim saw, so he ended up keeping those bees and over the years they kept multiplying.

"There's probably close to a million individual bees out there," says Leether.

All those bees coming together to produce hundreds of pounds of honey per year and Jim showed us how he extracts it. He starts off by inspecting the frames inside the hives.

"The honey has to be a certain consistency of water, usually 20 percent water before they are ready to harvest, and the bees will cap them off with wax once they are ready," says Leether.

To get to the sweet nectar, he uses a cold serrated knife to open the cells and get to the honey. He then places the frames into the extractor and cranks it.

"It spins the frames around, and throws the honey out of the frames onto the walls of a stainless steel drum of sort, and then it runs to the bottom and it is collected there," says Leether.

The honey comes out from the bottom onto a filter. The raw honey is separated from any pieces of wax and lingering bees and must sit for at least a day to let the air bubbles settle, and then it is ready to be poured into the bottles.

Just one of many bottles ready to be sold across Delmarva.

Categories: Local News, Maryland