WHAT'S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT?
Educate, inspire and change
Welcome to the official site for Queen’s Orders Honey!
My name is Justin, and I’m the founder and owner of this business. No matter how you stumbled across this page I’d like to introduce myself and my business to you so that you might get a better idea of what we are about.
In early 2018, I found myself as confused as ever about what I wanted to do with my life. After a few unproductive and expensive years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I was no closer to solving this riddle than I had been when I graduated at Hopewell High School.
With nothing to show for my time in school, such as a degree, I decided it was time to try to something new. It was during that time that I began volunteering at local nature centers and parks, such as the Carolina Raptor Center here in Huntersville and the Discovery Place Nature in Charlotte. It was here that I was introduced to the wonderful art of beekeeping!
I was amazed by every aspect of it, from the suits to the stings. It was everything that I was looking for in life.
In no more than I month I sought out a Charlotte beekeeper and purchased a hive from them. With no education or experience at all, besides a copy of “Beekeeping for Dummies” I began my journey as a beekeeper.
Only with the help of the beekeeper who I purchased the hive from (who happened to be the president of the Mecklenburg Beekeeping Association!), did I avoid losing that hive my first year. In fact, I was able to acquire a second hive through splitting the first one, later in the season.
After too many stings and near catastrophic incidents that could’ve cost my hives that year, I decided it was time to get educated. Lucky for me and my bees the local chapter of the Mecklenburg Beekeeping Association was holding a bee school in the winter. The next spring would be completely different from the first, with this education under my belt. While I still had much to learn, I at least didn’t have to rely heavily on my mentors to get me through the season.
That year proved to be very successful as I turned my two hives into six. That winter I’d return to bee school, though this time as a mentor.
By the end of 2020 I had a total of 12 hives. 2020 was also my first year acquiring and selling honey. I had a very good year, yielding close to 250 pounds from my six main hives at the beginning of the season. Not only was the yield great, the sales were too. I was sure that it would take some time to get rid of my supply, but was quickly proved wrong. With nothing more than a sign in my front yard reading “Honey for Sale” followed by my number, I sold out of my supply within 2-3 months.
News spread from customers that my honey was some of the best they’d every tasted. More importantly anyone driving by could see my hives and know that the source was local to Charlotte. The honey they were eating was the product of flowers grown in their own backyard!
As of July 2021 I have over 30 hives after splitting my successful winter colonies this spring. I’ve also added a few feral colonies to my apiary after being a member of the Mecklenburg County swarm list.
I yielded over 600 pounds of honey from these hives, beating my expectations for this year by over 100 pounds. I’ve also begun offering my services as a backyard beekeeper to the bee curious in my area of Huntersville and Greater Charlotte. Whether it’s selling honey, raising queens, catching swarms, taking care of my own apiary or others, my life is now all about the bees, just as it should be.
Since the beginning of 2021 when I started my Hive Host program, I've had the privilege to sign on many new clients who want their own bees and someone to care for them. What started as a way to give people around Charlotte a way to experience the fascinating world of honeybees has turned into one of my favorite parts of beekeeping!
Not only do I get to share this experience with others, working hives with my clients and showing them what all their bees are doing through the year, but I also get to see what makes their yard/neighborhood unique as far as what their bees do in comparison to bees in other yards. For example, when extract honey from their hives each year every yard has their own unique blend of nectar! Some are lighter blends, some darker but all have their own taste that sets them apart from the rest.
I also get to see this in my own apiaries with a new one having been set up in Huntersville in 2022. Both yards have a different timing and source to their main, heavy flow. Planning on having even more hives in 2024, with my eyes now set on Statesville where there is a sourwood tree flow!