Honey of a Buzz

Kentucky beekeepers club members
stay busy as their bees

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (November 2002) – Who ever heard of giving bees medicine? Oldham County resident Matthew “Doc” Stuedle for one.
Stuedle, 71, has been keeping bees for about 45 years and has gained a wealth of knowledge, which he shares with others in the Oldham County Beekeepers Association. Stuedle has been president of the club for the past four years and said that the current organization started eight years ago with just five members.
Now 45 members strong, the organization conducts meetings each month at the Oldham County Cooperative Extension office located at 1815 N. Hwy. 393 in Buckner, Ky. Stuedle said that the club provides an opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping, from hobbyists to professionals. At the meetings, members share information and often watch educational videos. They have also started a small library.

Doc Stuedle

Beekeeper Doc Stuedle

In addition to monthly meetings, a couple of times a year the group hosts a “field day” at a member’s home. On “field day,” the group gathers to share a meal, look at the host member’s hive and discuss potential problems, including how to deal with pests. That’s where the medicine comes in.
Stuedle says beekeeping has changed tremendously over the past two decades. The invasion of pests, such as the Asian Voroa Mite, has caused beekeepers problems that did not exist 30 years ago. Stuedle said he remembers a time when beekeeping was much simpler and less expensive than it is today. Now beekeepers must “medicate” their hives in order to stave off mites and other pests including a newcomer to Kentucky, the Small Hive Beetle.
Mites can wipe out an unprotected hive in less than two weeks. Stuedle, who produces his own honey, which he sells from his home, said that he medicates his hives every three weeks to keep the bees healthy. A healthy hive can produce 90 to 125 pounds of honey each year.
Ulyssus Key, fellow club member and long time friend of Stuedle, is familiar with the various pests and the problems they can cause beekeepers. Key said that he and wife, Mary, have been keeping bees for about 30 years and that he regularly medicates his hives. The couple lives in Eastern Jefferson County.
Key, who markets his honey under the label, “Beehive Delight,” said that he works with about 10 to 12 people each year who want to learn about beekeeping. And although it’s a lot of work, Key said he still enjoys it.
“The bees do something different every year,” said Key about how the hobby continually keeps his interest after so many years. Key’s honey is available at Reardon’s Fruit Market in Crestwood and at the Value Market on Hurstborne Lane in Louisville.
Understanding how to deal with pests is only one of the topics of interest to beekeepers. There are many things that beekeepers must be aware of in order to maintain hives that successfully produce honey. Protecting colonies against diseases, parasites and predators is important, but so is maintaining equipment and knowing how to collect the honey without harm to the hive or the keeper.
Also, beekeepers, like Key and Stuedle, who produce and sell a certain quantity of honey each year, are inspected by the state health department to insure that production processes meet state regulatory guidelines. In short, “it is a lot of work,” said Stuedle.
So why do so many stick with it? Just talk to any beekeeper and you’ll find out. It’s a love of the hobby that keeps so many dedicated. Stuedle said that any persons wishing to learn more about beekeeping are welcome to attend the club’s monthly meetings. In addition to the Oldham County Beekeepers Association, Stuedle is also a member of the Bluegrass Beekeepers of Lexington, the Kentuckiana Beekeepers of Jefferson County, Ky.-Southern Indiana and the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association.
Stuedle was awarded the Kentucky State Beekeeper of the Year in 2000. Key received the honor in 2001. The Oldham County club meets on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

• Those interested can contact Stuedle at (502) 241-4443 for more information.

Back to November 2002 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta