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CCFB News» March 2021

Bee All About It

03/12/2021 @ 11:15 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

What type of Agriculture do you “specialize” in? Apiculture – We raise our own Queens, grow colonies of bees produce a Honey Crop, rescue honeybee swarms out of homes and structures, and teach others about the culture of beekeeping.

 

How did you get into Beekeeping and Swarm Catching?  My mom, a master-gardener and beekeeper came to visit one year and insisted that I needed a beehive for my back-yard garden.  She enrolled me in a class, and I won a beehive as the door prize.  Then I got the “bug.”  Went from 1 hive first year, to 12, to 25, to 40 and upwards of 100 colonies in the years there after.  As for catching swarms, I got a call from the CookDuPage Beekeepers Association swarm line – a tornado like cloud of bees had descended upon a home and could I help!

 

What is your favorite honey product or type of honey? Comb Honey from our hives under our basswood trees at the farm.  I’m also partial to our “Pumpkin Honey” which we pull off the supers after our bees have finished pollinating the pumpkins late summer.

 

 

What is your favorite farm/apiary related memory? Checking on our hives at midnight in an apple orchard we were pollinating.  Our Australian Shepherd, Rigby, got loose and took off down a row of trees.  Why it’s so memorable:  he was a cancer survivor and was missing his front leg.  But that did not slow the three-wheeler down a bit.  I think the bunny he was chasing got away, but I’ll never forget that look on his face when I caught up with him.  Yes, Pete, I just had to go for it!

 

 

When you are at the apiary, what are you doing?   Making sure the bees have all the resources they need to grow their strength / numbers.  Checking-in on their health and well-being.

 

What is the most unusual question or request you have received? We’ve had a number of folks ask us to buy bees for bee-venom-therapy.  Stinging themselves to ease the symptoms of Lyme’s disease and arthritis.  Hey, it hurts so good….  And truthfully, my hands feel much better during bee season!

 

What is your most valuable piece of equipment?  Tough question:  Off Season - My router table – use it to make our wooden-ware beehives; In Season – the J-Hook Hive Tool, wish I had been the inventor of this handy implement! Can use it to open a hive, remove frames, even open a bottle of beer!

 

Who do you look up to or consider a mentor? From our local area:  John Hansen, Bill Whitney, Marge Trocki.  At a national level, I follow a number of accomplished beekeepers:  Michael Palmer, Randy Oliver, Ian Steppler, Thomas Seeley and others.

 

What is your favorite season? Fall – love to carve pumpkins, especially those that came from fields our bees have been working!  Seeing the change of season and feeling the cool autumn evenings.

 

What is your favorite food? Maryland Blue Crab! (Went to college in Annapolis – aka Crab Town) and the Philadelphia Soft Pretzel!

 

What brings joy to you? Seeing the buds blossom on our silver maple, cottonwood and basswood trees, seeing lots of dandelions and clover at the farm. (It’s all protein for our bees!)  Relocating a swarm of honeybees into our bee yard or rescuing a bumble bee nest from an anxious homeowner intent on eviction!  Opening the gate valve on our radial-honey-extractor and seeing the honey flow.

 

How long have you been a Farm Bureau member? Yes -7 years.

Member Name:   Pete Soltesz

Business Name: Bee All About It    

Contact Info:     Pete Soltesz

Phone & Email: (630) 207-4255

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cook-DuPage-Beekeepers-Association-170866152953485

 

 

Brief History of Beekeeping Background or Business: 

 

Established in 2015, Pete Soltesz is a founder and the Chief Operating Officer of “Bee All About It,” a local, Cook County, bee company engaged in producing honey bees and queens for purchase, yielding a honey crop, providing pollination services and producing supplements for the cosmetic, nutrition, and wellness industries.  Pete also provides consulting services to other beekeepers, schools and associations.  And, he manages colonies for landowners used in re-zoning for tax-assessment.

 

Pete is part of a select group of beekeepers licensed and certified by the Illinois State Department of Health to remove honey bees from structures.  He is the current President of the Cook DuPage Beekeepers Association, one of the largest bee clubs in the Midwest.  And he formerly held the position of Vice President on the board of Directors for the Illinois State Beekeepers Association.

 

He has been involved with honey bees since his youth, and upon moving to Illinois in 2007, has consistently grown his colony count in his apiary from local feral stock and overwintered queens.  Since 2015, thru the Cook County Farm Bureau, he has been teaching beginner beekeepers how to get started in the field. 

 

He can be reached by phone at 630-207-4255 and by email at [email protected]

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