With local attorney Doug Woodruff's career in full swing — he was recently appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to be Catoosa County's Solicitor General — he is turning his attention to an old hobby he hopes to turn into a small side business.
In the 1980s, Woodruff got his start raising honey bees with his father in Rock Spring, tending eight hives that produced plenty of honey. About two years ago, Woodruff noticed the decline in the bee population, so he began trapping feral colonies in search of a new home and transporting them to locations where he could keep an eye on them.
"My interest in honey bees is honestly ecological. I know how critical bees are to humanity," he said, explaining that bees pollinate flowers and help crops grow.
That's exactly what he now has hives doing at friends' properties around the Rock Spring area under the business name Boynton Backyard Bees. Starting with a single hive in his own backyard, he began to actively add more hives this spring.
"We will be selling honey next year hopefully probably next spring," said Woodruff. "One of the values of local honey is true local raw honey has tremendous health benefits for your immune system in particular. We will have just honey strained and some of the whole honeycomb honey, too."
He estimates he has 80,000-120,000 honey bees at each farm, for a total of 160,000 to 240,000.
"One bee by itself can't do a lot, but the 40,000 to 60,000 in a healthy hive together becomes like a living organism," he said.
Woodruff said Boynton Backyard Bees' approach is non-traditional. He uses no chemicals.
"We are using genetic strains of small-cell honey bees that are naturally mite resistant," said Woodruff. "I will add four more hives [next year], but long term I would love to have 30 to 40 hives. We plan on putting two hives at any given location. To keep the cost down, I'm building my own hives and doing the construction ourselves."
To keep up-to-date and find out if honey is available, visit facebook.com/boyntonbackyardbees.