By Camilla Bee, Editor
When Eddison was 10 years old, “an older guy” came to his Vacation Bible School to talk about beekeeping. Eddison was spellbound.
When you’re 10, most every guy you encounter is “an older guy.” But, with 51 being the average age of an American beekeeper, to a wide-eyed 10-year-old boy, that beekeeper must’ve appeared ancient.
Thank goodness that “older guy” took the time to talk to a group of young pups—it caused the American beekeeper average age to come down a bit. A passion was sparked that day, and three years later, Eddison, now age 13, is in his fourth year as a beekeeper.
I meet plenty of kids who are interested in bees, who hope to someday keep bees, who help their parents with bees.
Eddison isn’t one of those. He’s actually keeping bees, with goals and plans for apiary expansion and product marketing. His knowledge about bees, and his ability to articulate it, is impressive. I’m one of those “older folks” who keeps bees; I’ve been doing it about as long as Eddison. However, shortly into our interview, I found myself asking questions not as an interviewer, but because I have some things going on in my hives and needed Eddison’s insight. There must be an “older guy” or two trapped inside of young Eddison, because he seems to have years of expertise and the ability to explain it to me without making me feel silly. And he’s right; getting my beetle traps in before I see beetles everywhere would be smart.
Eddison tends five thriving hives in southern Indiana. Two are original packages from Kelley’s; the other three are swarms he’s captured. He talked me through a typical swarm capture, noting there’s no such thing as “typical.”
“The first thing you have to do,” he shared, “is assess the situation.” He described some of the challenges he’s faced, and noted that it is helpful to have a second person to help, usually his Dad.
Part of Eddison’s plan for this year includes capturing more swarms. He’s found that the hives from swarms, while a bit more feisty, seem more resilient. He has a few swarm traps out and his fingers crossed because he wants to build up to eight or nine hives.
Eddison also hopes to get enough honey this year to sell at a roadside stand so he can purchase a bee suit. You see, Eddison has been doing all of this with just a veil, and he suspects a proper bee suit will mean fewer stings. It sounds like he’s already had more than his fair share, but he adds only because he wasn’t being as careful as he should have been.
That you can manage honeybees—raise them and control them like other animals—that was the realization that initially sparked 10-year-old Eddison’s interest. His motivation for keeping bees now has grown beyond that fascination. He also does it for honey to help his allergies, and because bees help his Mom’s garden. He’s shared his interest with some friends, who agree with him that beekeeping is totally cool, but many others don’t know about this side of the seventh grader.
Eddison is proud that his beekeeping has inspired others, noting that the world needs more bees and beekeepers. Because of his efforts, there are some neighbors who ordered bees from Kelley’s this year. (Thanks Eddison!)
Why Kelley’s? Initially, location. When he decided to become a beekeeper, Eddison researched what was needed. Kelley’s was a reasonable drive away for an annual outing, where he could stock up on everything he needed and save shipping costs. On what was undoubtedly a red-letter day in this young man’s life, he watched a package installation at bee pick-up day then went home and did the same. He said he really liked the friendliness and helpfulness of the folks at Kelley’s.
He added that he also really, really appreciated the free doughnuts.
Kelley’s works hard at customer service; we want to keep customers for life. When one of your most loyal customers has been keeping bees going on four years, and is only 13, we’ll work extra-hard to earn his loyalty and trust. There’s a life of fun and fascination ahead for Eddison, and excitement for us due to his enthusiasm and patronage.
Here’s to the start of a great relationship, Eddison—we’ll make sure to continue producing quality equipment for you and your bees, and keep the doughnuts coming.