The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

West Virginia beekeepers say their tradition is about more than the honey


It seems that beekeepers in West Virginia have as much to learn from honeybees as they do each other. Beekeepers in the state are getting much more than honey; they are gaining knowledge and insights from their close-knit community.

In Summers County, West Virginia, Mark Lilly grew up watching his grandfather and relatives keep bees. Today, Lilly works as a master beekeeper for the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective, a non-profit that helps train beekeepers in economically depressed regions in West Virginia and Virginia. On a recent sunny day, Lilly showed me his honeybee hives. Against the backdrop of the steady hum of busy bees, he lifted the box of a hive to check his swarm’s honey production.

“This colony is doing real well building up for the spring. We're probably three weeks plus before the flow would hit,” Lilly said.

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