Appalachian Beekeeping Collective helps landowners make a busine - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Appalachian Beekeeping Collective helps landowners make a business out of bees


PIPESTEM, W.Va. (WVVA) Leisa Moten of Pipestem, W.Va. drives nearly 60,000 miles a year to work. More recently, she has been trying to cut back. 

"My mom is 87 years old. Eventually she'll need care. I wanted a business I could do from home."

Moten is one of 37 participants in the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective (ABC). She oversees the honey creation process while the collective extracts, processes, and bottles the honey.

"The bees are really need to watch go in and out. They do dances and talk to each other. My husband won't go in with me but he really likes to watch."

ABC is part of Appalachian Headwaters, a non-profit organization created in 2016 to improve streams, forests, and communities throughout central Appalachia. According to their Vice President of Government Relations, Terri Giles, the organization helps with the start-up costs, hives that run around a $1,000 a piece. 

The collective also provides training from a local expert with a PHD specializing in bees. Dr. Parry Kitzeman is fearless when it comes to bees.  "Hours and hours of experience. The more time you spend with them the more comfortable you are. I'm probably slightly crazy too." 

It isn't just any honey, Giles explained, it is pure honey, one of very few places in the U.S. that makes the product without the use of pesticides.

"This way I know where my product is coming from, " said Moten. "You don't process it or bottle it. You just take it to them and they pay you per pound."

For Moten, the bees have other uses as well. She uses the bee wax and honey to make lip balms and soap to be sold regionally. 

ABC will officially kick-off the collective with local, state, and federal leaders at a special celebration on Saturday, June 16, at Camp Lightfoot Road in Hinton. The program currently has 37 members. 

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