Killer Bees Honey thrives on the plateau
By MANDY MURRY
Fiercely feminine, the story of the honey bee is a Shakespearan tango that must play on to protect the forest surrounding us. When Denise and Sean of Killer Bees Honey started beekeeping high on the mountain above Lake Toxaway, the goal was to do their part for the 5-mile radius environment surrounding them, not work after retirement.
The bee, one of the hottest, most celebrated insects of today, may “bee” due to one of its many alluring qualities. As pollinators, bees work together, with a “one for all and all for one” community, they all know their job and stick to their task. Bees know their purpose and do not stray away or shrink from fulfilling it. And of course, there is the Queen Bee, the prominent figure of the hive that knows all tells all and demands respect. But let’s not forget that while the Queen bee rules the roost, she and her hive maintain forest growth and, in some aspect, human evolution.
Killer Bees Honey was named and inspired by The Queen Bee herself. Everything from the logo to their story resembles a World War II pin-up model of strength, courage, and if I can be brutally honest, badassery. The idea of the branding is to resemble what you may have seen painted on a B-25J Aircraft T buzzing around during the war, “a beautiful, sexy bee that speaks- ‘don’t mess with her,’” as Sean stated during a sit-down conversation at the hive. As the queen bee is the baddest, most respected in the hive, the honey produced at Killer Bees commands the same.
Having kept bees since the age of 12, Sean knows a thing or two about the dance between mother nature and the bees. On the tour, you will learn about the bee waggle dance and how these intricate creatures know where to travel to and from to collect the pollen that produces their honey. It truly is a fascinating art form of communication that has evolved over 100 million years. Denise and Sean share the drama of the killer bees- not the actual African killer bee, as their honey bee varietals are Italian and German- but the life inside and outside the hive.
Beauty, another of the honey bee qualities, most likely is centered around the predominantly female-driven society. Drones, or male bees, have one purpose, they are there to mate with the queen, and in the process lose their life- I won’t spoil parts of the tour and conversation that are entertaining and eye-opening all at once. Inside the hive, the worker bees are female, there to protect their queen and do as their queen cries- she actually has a song.
During a tour at Killer Bees Honey, you will learn fascinating bee facts, get to put on a bee suit and see the bees, as well as taste the honey and take home your very own souvenir jar of the melt-in-your-mouth creation. The honey itself is special due to how the bees are kept.
Most beekeepers in the United States, move their bees around from location to location to pollinate. Bees work 24/7, and the movement from place to place can be daunting. Bees were meant to stay in one place according to Sean. The resident bees of Killer Bees Honey are well taken care of and remain in one location. Denise and Sean believe in protecting the environment and have chosen not to use pesticides or chemicals to kill off mites that are harming the bee population around the globe. Here, they are using a natural, time-consuming process to keep the bees safe and the honey as natural as possible. And, they have the product to prove it.
Their website claims the honey pure, natural, unfiltered and of course....uncensored! But more than that, they have their honey tested to back up their claims and post the analysis of each batch online. Every Killer Bees Honey harvest has its pollen traced by Dr. Vaughn M. Bryant, Director of the Palynology Lab at Texas A&M University. Pollen tracing is a quantifiable method used to detect the bee’s floral source. Each batch is also tested for purity of content by Intertek in Germany or NMR spectroscopy at Sweetwater Science Labs in the USA.
Killer Bees Honey harvests honey only when the bees have produced enough that the bees will not starve during the winter. The care and passion they have placed on their buzzing residents are commendable, and why their top-shelf honey is worth every penny.
Now for the good part - the honey. As we sat around the kitchen table talking all things bees, Denise and Sean so kindly shared their 2019 honey harvest of Wickedly Whipped, Appalachian Wildflower, and Sourwood Blonde (their premier honey). Their whipped honey resembles a perfected cream cheese frosting, that could accompany a scone, carrot cake, or simply a bite all on its own. Each of their kinds of honey was full-bodied and completely mesmerizing in the flavor profile. The Sourwood had notes of buttery caramel and may in fact be a perfect complement to a bourbon cocktail.
Tours at Killer Bees Honey run May through August on Fridays and Saturday for the 2020 season. Private tours are available for up to 6 people and best to call for reservations. Honey and champagne tastings are available year-round.
Killer Bees Products
Wickedly Whipped Wildflower
A pollen packed, thick and creamy honey, rich with taste and nutrition.
Killer Bees Sourwood Honey
A raw, micro-batch honey with an unusually high 94% (True Nectar Value) concentration of sourwood nectar.
Body Product Line
Includes organic body wash made of saponified olive, coconut, jojoba and avocado; all-natural, heavy moisturizer, and a gentle, moisturizing, bar soap for body and face.