Buzzing with sweet success: Beekeepers reap golden benefits from honey harvest

GT’s Bees highlights this year’s harvest and the work that went into it.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 9:29 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 10:12 AM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - There are many benefits to buying local honey, including for your health.

Garry Tollefson, the owner of GT’s Bees, has been a beekeeper for 12 years. The main reason he started was because of the impacts that local honey had on his allergies.

“A gentleman gave me honey, local honey, which is important,” Tollefson said. “He saw me taking Claritin and all kinds of sinus meds, and he said to take this every day. After about a month he came in and said why aren’t you taking your meds? I said I didn’t even realize it.”

Once Tollefson started harvesting honey, the community started asking for it.

“People were requesting it saying I need it for cough medicine or to help my allergies,” Tollefson said.

When picking out honey at the store, it’s not always locally made. Tollefson said you have to check the label.

“Look at the label and make sure it is local honey. Some of them say product of China, Argentina or 100% USA honey. That’s not local honey,” Tollefson explains.

It has been a pretty good harvesting season for GT’s Bees. They have collected around 4,000 pounds, according to Tollefson.

Local honey is good for more than just your allergies. Tollefson gets lots of feedback from customers and doctors on how they use it.

“Locally sourced honey is always the best for your health,” Tollefson said. “Everything from cancer to burns. A doctor told me she prescribed my honey to help heal burns to her patients. I’m not a doctor, but this is what people tell me and I always love that kind of feedback.”

There is a lot that goes into making a simple bottle of honey, but Tollefson says this is a labor of love.

“We take that over and put it in the extractor, which removes the capping, then we put it in the spinner I can it, and it spins the honey out of it, from there it goes into a bucket to be stored or right into the bottler and from there my use, family use or public use,” he said.

According to Tollefson beekeeping is a hobby that has many rewards.

“It’s a fascinating hobby; It makes you slow down, it makes you concentrate, and it’s a very rewarding hobby,” Tollefson said.

GT’s Bees is at the Marquette Farmers Market and select stores around the U.P. Follow GT’s Bees on Facebook.

To learn more about beekeeping contact the Superior Beekeeping Club.

Here are some ways you can help pollinators:

  • Reduce mowing
  • End pesticide and herbicide
  • Buy organic and local food
  • Plant bee-friendly plants
  • Become a beekeeper