Frequently Asked Questions
We've captured some of your most common questons about our business - Barters Island Bees, and about bees, honey, Maine and even our dog Riley.
How did you get started?
We didn't set out to create an apiary and produce honey to sell, but bees are a bit addictive. As a beekeeper, your job is to keep your bees healthy and alive and then get out of their way! Denny is the primary beekeeper. He took a beekeeping course, reads about bees constantly, and has a great mentor. Beekeepers are very supportive of one another in Maine!
How many hives do you have?
We started with three hives 2020 and enjoyed the process so much that we split and added hives until we now have +/- 40 at any given time. Most of the hives are on our property on Barters Island, but several neighbors were interesting in hosting our hives, so we have hives all around the east side of the island.
What do your bees eat?
Our very lucky bees have a variety of flora in the area. We have planted many pollinator friendly flowers in our yard and live across the street from a small apple orchard. We live within a bee's flight range of one of the premier botanical gardens in the country, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, so our bees can go there for their gourmet snacks.
Who comes up with all the special flavors?
While Denny is the primary beekeeper, Donna is responsible for the production of our unique products. She grew up in Tennessee where many people made creamed honey. Adding delicious flavors, like ginger, cinnamon and blueberry/lemon, to the creamed honey seemed like a wonderful way to offer a range of products. Some flavors, like Bee Stinger, come from recipes she'd made and served before being a beekeeper.
What organizations do you support?
Two causes that are very important to use are food security in Maine and the survival of honeybees. Veggies to Table is an organization in Maine that works to provide healthy food to those who need it. They are also beekeepers whose lush gardens support pollinators. We love the idea that when they make their donations of food, they also include fresh flowers, providing sustenance and beauty to those in need.
Who is Riley?
Riley is a young Labrador who is the chief security officer at Barters Island Bees. He has developed a healthy respect for the bees and likes to hang out in the shade just beyond the area where the hives are located.
What's the scoop on the Honey House?
The Honey House is where the some of the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively) of beekeeping takes place. The Honey House is next to the hives. This is where the work of extracting the honey from the hives takes place. Stay tuned for videos about the extraction process!
What's the story on that cute logo?
Living on an island off the Boothbay peninsula, we wanted our logo to reflect not only our product but where it originates. Luckily, Tammy Duncan from the Visual design studio OrangeYouGlad put her formidable talent to work for us! When we saw her very first mock up of the bee with the buoy body, we were sold! She's continued to contribute to our marketing in ways that are amazingly creative! More recently, she has redesigned our website that is scheduled to launch July 2023. She is our rock star!
Can we come and visit?
We had planned to begin offering apiary tours and give people a chance to really experience what bee-keeping entails. Little did we know that the honey would take off like it has and we work full time producing the honey needed! We may just have some opportunities in the near future to visit the farm and try your hand at bee-keeping!