Featured Beekeeper of the Month
This month our featured beekeeper is William
(Billy) Sanford. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Albia, Iowa
and operate Coyote Ridge Farm & Apiary. Billy is new to beekeeping
having started just 3 years ago out of curiosity and interest
in bees. He didn’t see honeybees out working like he did
as a youngster, so he acquired some used equipment and was in
business. He markets honey, comb honey, and 17 varieties of produce.
Answering the question about satisfactions in beekeeping Billy
says, “I still feel like a kid every time I open a hive.
I learn something new all the time. The honey, I can work alone,
working with nature outside. Being a help to other beekeepers.
The bees help my gardens with all their pollinating.” Billy
says his future plans are to become a full time beekeeper and
produce grower. He would like to expand his hives to 100 for the
ultimate goal and also expand into candles etc.
Here Billy has his extracting
line setup. He says he would like to become a full time
beekeeper and produce grower. Having your own pollination
service can be pretty handy in the garden.
Bill is a member of the Back to Basics Beekeeping
Club of about 30 members. Meeting once a month, the groups’
activities are exchanging educational information, operating booths
at some local fairs and fellowship. Billy is an active member
volunteering work and sharing information. In the IHPA Billy works
at the honey booth during the State Fair and would like to be
Billy Sanford uncapping some
fresh honey. Billy gets an added bonus when the bees are
out pollinating his produce crop in the garden.
On the subject of interesting experiences in
beekeeping Billy says, “I have around 300 melons, pumpkins,
squash and cucumbers. I grew several 30 to 40 pound watermelons
that I like to think the bees helped produce last year without
chemicals or manure. I’ve had to deal with a worker laying
eggs this year and frames that were nothing but solid pollen on
both sides of the frames. I still think of myself as a beginner.
I’ve also gotten to catch several swarms. Also, Phil Ebert,
Gordon Powell, Phil Meyer and countless others have helped inspire
and educate me as I grow. Beekeeping is the most rewarding hobby-job
I’ve ever done or had. I look forward to the challenges
involved and maybe helping the beekeeping industry and the environment.
Oh, I picked up 8 nucs last year on the side of a highway between
Knoxville and Des Moines in a little Chevy Caviler station wagon
with my wife, brave woman, and took them back to the farm to install.
There were no plugged holes and the lids were only held on by
duck tape. Needless to say it was a tight fit for all of us and
we did not take our veils off or stop for potty breaks.”
Thanks for your story Billy.
Submitted by Ron Wehr