Hello, I’m David Drugan, owner / operator of the Buzz-Off Bee Company. I am a ‘sideline’ beekeeper who manages approximately 55 hives on local farms in multiple locations in Westfield, Agawam, West Springfield, and Southampton.
I began keeping bees approximately eight years ago after working with a now retired beekeeper who is a family friend. This now retired beekeeper had learned that I successfully removed an enormous wasp nest (of all things) from my home, and invited me to come along and assist him remove a feral honey bee colony which had taken-up residence within a barn in Belchertown. After successfully rehousing the feral colony, he gifted me the bees and equipment (my first hive), and I was hooked! Stung a few times as well during the removal, but that comes with the territory.
Later that year, the one rehoused barn honey bee colony morphed into three hives and my backyard was alive with activity. Those three hives grew to six hives in year two, and six hives grew to twelve hives in year three… and with a local demand for smaller-scale pollination (and a wife who was questioning just how many bees in the backyard was enough - that's the nice version), my backyard hobby has developed into a fantastic opportunity to work with local farmers by providing pollination support to their fields / crops, while learning about their farms. And as you may have guessed, the hive count still continues to grow each year.
The byproduct of an expanding hive count, and now working with multiple local farms and farmers, are all the products of the honey bee hive, including hundreds of pounds of raw honey, raw honey comb, wax, and pollen. Although you can see all of the products of the honey bee hive on my vendor table, the real star of the display has to be the single-frame observation hive which is alive with activity.
The observation hive allows for people of all ages a quick glimpse into the inner-workings of a honey bee colony, while asking questions about what is going on ‘under the glass’. Finding the queen is usually on the mind of most visitors, but it’s great to be able to offer some educational opportunities about honey bees, listen to bee-related stories, and offer insight to local raw honey and products.
Becoming a vendor at the Amherst Farmers' Market this year has been absolutely terrific. The ability to provide a local raw honey product to our community is truly only one of the great parts of participating in the Amherst Farmers Market. The fantastic questions and answer opportunities which I engage in with passersby is the real highlight of the day - meaningful questions about honey bees, including: why is the honey different colors, how much wax is produced from a colony, and countless others offers a bit of bee related information even if it's just a quick glance from afar.
Be sure to stop over at the table, ask a question or two, and perhaps share a bee related story. Trust me, if there’s one thing I can, and like to do (like every beekeeper) - it’s talk bees!
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.