BLAINE – Tommy Gilliland began bee keeping several years ago because, he said, he liked the bees.  

It is a family affair with his wife, Cathy, and sons, Aaron and Josh, who have developed an enjoyment of bees as well. 

Tommy receives his queen bees from Georgia and the process begins. There is only one queen bee per Langstroth hive, but up to 20,000 worker bees, each knowing which hive is their home. 


The hives are also used for laying eggs by the queen. Worker  bees usually live approximately 46 days, so reproduction of bees is an important part of maintaining a hive. Warming outdoor temperatures and availability of nectar in the winter is also essential for honey production.


For the winter, Tommy provides a bucket of sugar water with wood chips.  The wood chips are to prevent the bees from drowning in the sugar water.

Anyone who wishes to purchase honey or learn more about bee keeping as a hobby can contact the Gillilands at their farm on Stone Road in Blaine.