Beekeepers have a tradition where they “tell the bees” of any big family news, such as, death, marriage and births. That’s exactly how local beekeeper, Alec Bruns, came into this world. The Wild Light Honey owner is a second generation beekeeper, his father barely made it to his birth because it was during the spring honey flow. Shortly after birth, his parents took him to the bee yard to introduce the baby to the bees. In the beekeeping world, if you do not do this you will ruin any chance of a good honey season and have bad luck.
While Alec was born with honey in is veins he did not immediately start his honey farm…he has traveled the world and worked a diverse set of jobs including ranch hand in Northern New Mexico and forest firefighter with the forest service out West. He then settled in Savannah where he has hives downtown, as well as, a beautiful stretch of wild land along the Ohoopee River, just West of town. He maintains around 100 colonies which fluctuate depending on the health of the hives. He is a one-man-show at the moment, with the help of a few buddies, but hopes to take on an apprentice next spring so get in your applications now!
The beekeeper you picture is dressed head-to-toe in white protective coverings, not Alec. He tends to his hives shirtless in shorts and flip flops. He said he doesn’t get stung as often as you might think and it’s worth getting a few stings to stay cool during the South Georgia Summers. Plus, he believes, a good sting makes the honey taste that much sweeter!
In Savannah, we are not kind to our bees. The mosquito helicopter, for one, is rough for the bee population. Alec said if the helicopter would spray after sunset, when honey bees are safe in their hives, it would improve the population. He also suggests individuals getting their own hive and forming a relationship with the amazing creatures. In fact, did you know it takes approximately 1,152 bees traveling 112,000 miles and visiting 4.5 million flowers to produce a ONE POUND jar of honey? That’s dedication. He teaches a beekeeping 101 workshop and sells bees to people locally. He says, “it’s been really rewarding to know that I have contributed to the local population of honey bees here in our city.” And he is most proud when he is able to teach clients how to get their hive started and he gets a picture of their first honey harvest.
Beekeeping is not easy. Everything about keeping bees healthy and productive these days is difficult, challenges include lack of forage due to development, invasive mites and a market flooded with fake “honey” from around the world that sells so cheap it’s impossible to compete. It’s important to buy your honey from a beekeeper and ask questions. Alec offers a free tour of his downtown bee yard, he not only encourage people to take the tour, he feels they deserve to know where their food comes from.
You can find Wild Light Honey and his other products of candles & salves at Forsyth Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and Hilton Head Island Farmers Market on Tuesday mornings. Or you can contact Alec directly on Instagram and stop by his downtown bee yard to buy honey and wax products, and while you’re there, check out his hives.
Learn about other local farmers & where your food comes from at ScoutSavannah.com.