The Story of a... Beekeeper

With dozens of hives to watch over, JEAN VASICEK, 50, owner of Winter Park Honey, stays as busy as a…well, you know.



Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

My brother gave me a beehive and it sat in my yard for six years until I got kind of curious about honey. Someone from the Orange Blossom Beekeepers Association taught me how to extract honey out of my hive and it was the best stuff I’d ever tasted. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now.

I have close to 120 hives. My apiaries cover all around Central Florida, from Apopka to the Disney area. In Florida you can extract honey pretty much all year.

I have a degree in physics. Before I was a beekeeper I worked for NASA and other aerospace companies.

I’ve been stung thousands of times. When you’re doing bee rescues and removals you get stung a lot. When I first started getting stung, I couldn’t see out of my eyes, my jaw would swell. I looked horrible. But the more you get stung the less you swell.
 
I cut the tip of my finger off once. I went to the emergency room where the doctors said they didn’t think they could successfully sew it back on; so, I went home. I cured it myself by dipping my finger in honey four or five times a day for 10 minutes. Honey is a natural antibiotic.

Bees live for around 30 days. I visit my bees once a week. I don’t think that’s enough time for them to get to like me. But what happens is that I’m not afraid of them, and they sense that. 

If there’s a blossom, then there’s a honey that’s made from it. People can’t believe there’s such a thing as avocado honey.

You start off with an empty hive. Find a field that has nothing in it, except for a single flower species that is blooming fast and strong, and put the bees in the middle of it. When the blooming stops, you have to extract the honey or it will get mixed with other flowers’ nectar.

German queens, Australian queens, small and black, big and orange. I have about every type of bee in my hive.

Most beekeepers in the U.S. have become migratory beekeepers where they’re doing pollination instead of honey production. When they move bees across the country, north to south, east to west, it makes the bees sick. Then mites could give them viruses, the bees die and things like the food chain go out of control. Primarily, this is the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Einstein said if the bee disappeared from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live. A lot of the produce in the grocery store that we’re just used to grabbing from the shelves won’t be there. It’s a domino effect; when one thing goes away a lot of other things go with it.

Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:

 

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2014

More than 75 Central Florida chiropractors make our inaugural list.

Fall Getaways

Fall is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Real Estate's Hot 100

Whether you’re trying to buy or sell real estate, getting the best deal means finding an agent who possesses savvy and know-how and gets results. This list showcases some Central Florida agents who have demonstrated those skills.

Spotlight on Plastic Surgeons 2014

This special advertising section highlights the accomplishments of plastic surgeons, who tell about their commitment to helping people look their best.

Orlando's Best Lawyers of 2014

Get informed with our annual list of more than 400 Orlando-area attorneys, compiled by Best Lawyers in America. The annual selection features lawyers in 78 areas of practice.

Spotlight on Lawyers 2014

Our special advertising section featuring profiles on local lawyers.

MoreRecent Blog Posts

New Orlando Restaurants Open This Fall

From a rustic restaurant at the Ritz and a cool wine bar on I-Drive to a rooftop steakhouse

Star Billing

Victoria & Albert's, Cask & Larder draw national kudos.

Handmade Home: Rustic Fall Finds

These seasonal homespun items will get you ready to cozy up for fall.

Raise a Glass

Wine is no longer just for sommeliers at fancy restaurants or trips to Europe and Napa.