Featured Beekeeper of the Month
This month our featured beekeeper is Dean L.
Wooten. He and his wife Edyth live in Muscatine, Iowa and operate
Wooten Apiaries. Dean became interested in beekeeping because
his grandfather had crippling arthritis for 30 years and depended
on a wheelchair. Dean heard about bee strings helping arthritis
and took a beekeeping class at Muscatine Community College. Then
he bought the teacher’s business. Now he has 11 colonies
and had an excellent 100-pound crop to some not so good this year.
He sells honey to the roadside markets from the fields he has
his bee colonies on. The bees are around watermelon, cantaloupe,
vegetables, strawberries, and fruit orchards. He likes the extra
income since social security doesn’t cover all living expenses.
Dean is expanding his numbers by 14 this year
for another vegetable grower. He helps the Iowa Honey Producers
at the State Fair.
Dean says he has learned to be a beekeeper and
not an exterminator. It seems he received a call from a party
who thought they had honeybees in their attic. Dean knew better,
but got his ladder out, put on his suit, took a large knife and
went up for a look. He cut a hornet nest down and sprayed it with
2 cans of spray. He told the homeowner he would be back in the
evening when the rest of the hornets would be back. After prayer
meeting Dean went back, suited up and went into the attic. His
helmet kind of blocked his vision and Dean slipped and went through
the ceiling catching himself on the joists with his arms. The
homeowner heard the noise and tried to help Dean, whose arms finally
gave out. Dean landed on a glass top patio table. Luckily the
table wasn’t that far from Dean’s feet and did not
break. He was in a little pain, which a trip to the emergency
room solved. Lesson learned.
Besides beekeeping, Dean has another interesting
project to keep him busy. He is a tour guide at the Pine Creek
Grist Mill [www.pinecreekgristmill.com] at Wildcat Den State Park
near Muscatine. He told me the history of the mill. Benjamin Nye
first built a sawmill in the spring of 1834. In 1837 Nye built
a second mill, a gristmill, to grind grain into flour. In 1848
Nye built his third mill which is the one Dean is involved with.
The mill has survived the flood of 1883 and after many years of
wear and tear has been restored by the Friends of Pine Creek Grist
Mill. It is open to the public. If you are in the area, stop out.
Maybe you’ll get lucky enough to have a personal tour by
Thanks for your story.
Submitted by Ron Wehr