Brian and Katie Wiggins are the proud owners, or caretakers rather, of nearly 2,000 beehives. There are anywhere from 20,000-60,000 bees in a single hive, so you could say they’ve got their work cut out for them.
It all started with Brian and his time spent growing up in the central valley of California where he learned to care for bees, and eventually fate led him to Idaho where he started working as a beekeeper in Marsing. In just one short year, he was off on his own again and launched KatieBee Honey, which is named after his first bee lady, Katie. It has been going strong for five years now!
KatieBee’s bees often spend the cooler months in California where they spend countless hours pollinating all the crops, including apples and cherries. They then get to rest a bit back in Idaho, if you could every call a bee’s life restful, where they spend the summer making honey.
As in any industry there are various methods of production, and the bee business is no different. Brian and Katie pride themselves on choosing the safest path possible for how they care for their little buzzers. Bees are prone to disease and parasites, and when they need any sort of medical rescuing, the bees are treated with oxalic and formic acid, and they are never touched by any sort of anti-biotic treatments or synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, when their bees try to swarm, as this happens when the hive becomes too large, they help split the hive and encourage a new queen to take over when needed, all methods that are naturally occurring in any beehive.
The bee business certainly keeps Brian and Katie busy, and they enjoy resting as much as possible; however, the bee call always gets them and they’re usually back in action in no time. You can find their honey through their website as well as at various local places including Whole Foods, the Boise co-op, Albertsons, Cabalos Orchards, Vogel Farms, Huckleberry’s Natural Market, Great Harvest Bread in Meridian, Stonehenge Produce, and finally at the Saturday market. Be sure to stop by this summer to see them!