Stingers and pollen aside

By By Jaime Winston

By Jaime Winston

Keith Araneo-Yowell sports a tattoo on his upper arm of a honeycomb and two bees to commemorate bees that died after they stung him.

Araneo-Yowell became an official beekeeper after receiving a box of Minnesota Hygienic bees on May 21, and now he sells the honey he helps produce at the F/Stop Café at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

After producing his first batch of honey under his brand name, Keith’s Bee Haven, Araneo-Yowell, who works at the F/Stop, asked his manager if they could sell it in the café.

“He’s been really excited about his bees for a while, and he was looking for a place to sell it,” said Emily Palmer, F/Stop manager. “People really like it. Everyone likes the local idea, and people say the honey is good.”

Araneo-Yowell. a mass communication and economics major, came up with the idea of becoming a beekeeper about a year ago.

“I was just sitting on the couch about a year ago and said, ‘Beekeeping would be fun,'” he said.

While at a bookstore, he noticed a book called Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston.

“I read it cover to cover and said, ‘Yes, this is what I have to do. This looks like fun,'” he said.

Araneo-Yowell said the book is a great place to learn about beekeeping because of all the resources it provides.

“The bees do all the work, really,” he said. “You just make sure they’re healthy.”

The process he uses to get honey involves cutting off capped honeycomb from trays and then putting a frame with uncapped honey into an extractor, which uses centrifugal force to spin the honey out.

During the short time Araneo-Yowell has had his hive, he has produced seven gallons of honey.

“I’m told that (seven gallons) is pretty unprecedented,” he said, “On average, if it’s a well-established hive and good nectar flow, you can get about 100 pounds of honey per season.”

He hasn’t had any complaints from Sugar House neighbors about the bees, though one of his roommates was nervous about his dog coming near the hive and being stung, which has not happened. Araneo-Yowell has only been stung twice. His tattoo now pays tribute to those bees.

“My reaction to the stings has been pretty strong, but I had some pretty significant swelling and was sore for a day or two, like someone dropped a 50-pound weight on (the sting).”

Araneo-Yowell keeps epinephrine with him when he is around the bees in case a sting results in an emergency situation.

He usually wears a beekeeper’s veil, a long-sleeved shirt and jeans around the bees.

“Towards the end of the season, they get a little feistier, so I go out with a pair of gloves,” he said. “Towards the beginning of the season, they aren’t aggressive, so you can go out without protective gear-I just keep them away from my face.”

The only situation he is worried about regarding the bees is swarming.

“That’s when too many bees are in a hive, and they make a new queen and leave,” he said. His bees haven’t swarmed yet, but the hive population is growing.

Araneo-Yowell said that most store-bought honey is produced in Texas and tastes different because of the region.

“Different types of bees don’t produce different kinds of honey — it depends on the flowers in the area. What you’ll find with my honey is a lot of alfalfa and a lot of sage,” he said.

He also said his honey can help with seasonal allergy symptoms.

“With the pollen and nectar in the honey, you’re exposing yourself to pollen without it going into nasal passages and having an allergic reaction. If you’re exposed, you’re less likely to have worse reactions in the spring,” he said.

Beekeeping is seasonal. In the winter, the bees hibernate around the queen, shivering to produce body heat. Enough honey is left for their food supply until spring when they begin foraging.

“A lot of my friends are really stoked about (my beekeeping),” Araneo-Yowell said.

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Liz Rohde

Keith Araneo-Yowell performs his final check of the season on his back yard hive of 80,000 bees. During the check he looks at the honey production, the eggs and the health of the bees.