Senior Megan Eveland embarked two years ago on her path of beekeeping, an uncommon hobby among high schoolers. Eveland became inspired to begin beekeeping from a friend’s dad. “We would often see him building hives, and I thought it was really unique,” she said. “I don’t know where I got my love of bees. I’ve just always seen them as these adorable fuzzy, teddy bear like creatures.”
When Eveland is knee deep in beekeeping on a hay field on her family’s farm, she makes sure she has all the equipment she needs. According to Eveland, the most important thing one needs before starting beekeeping is knowledge. “You have to know something about caring for bees before you go out and buy them – although many people don’t do this. Bees are like livestock, expensive and can be time consuming!” she said.
Eveland was able to join a local club and received a scholarship that allowed her to get all of her equipment for free. “That included one hive, three pounds of bees (with a queen), a jacket, gloves, hive tool, bee brush, and a smoker,” she said.
As a beekeeper, she feels she is contributing to the health of the environment. Eveland explained how the most effective thing in helping the bees is providing them with a place to live and a shelter during the winter months, as well as cross breeding “to try and weed out ‘weak’ genes.”
Eveland also feeds a supplement that strengthens their digestive tracts and improves health. “I am very proud of this work and what I have been able to do through the Iowa Honey Producers Association,” she said.
Eveland has made enough honey to sell this year and has created her own label and Facebook page “Purple Hive Honey.” She looks forward to presenting to the IHPA annual conference this November.
Eveland faces many joys in beekeeping but also challenges. “When it is blistering hot outside and I feel like I’m gonna pass out in my thick clothing, or when the bees are being a pain and I keep getting attacked every time I go near the hive – that is frustrating,” she said.
In spite of the challenges Eveland stands in awe of the bees in God’s creation. “The number one pro of beekeeping is getting to open up a hive and go ‘Wow…’. I get to marvel at the complexity of God’s creation everytime I watch bees work.”