Buzzing around: Local beekeeper harvests sweet treat

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

the beekeeper: Buddy Broadway has four apiaries and 13 colonies of bees.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

the beekeeper: Buddy Broadway has four apiaries and 13 colonies of bees.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” –– Albert Einstein.

Since his childhood, Picayune resident Buddy Broadway has worked in a number of different fields.
Now that he is retired, he has taken on another role, that of beekeeper.
Broadway was born and raised in Mize, Mississippi, supposedly the watermelon capital of the world, he said.
Having lost his father at a young age, Broadway worked to support his family. He was employed with a local watermelon vendor who shipped melons to Chicago, Illinois.
After college, Broadway secured employment with the Mississippi Department of Transportation as a civil engineer.
He also served in the United States Army National Guard for 36 years.
In May of 1962, he moved to Picayune, where he ran an engineering practice for 23 years.
Once again, Broadway said he decided to do something different, and when a college friend became mayor of Gulfport, he was hired on as public works director.
Around 2008, Broadway decided to add another venture to his already vast repertoire and researched the art of beekeeping.
During a mission trip to Senegal, a country in Africa, Broadway wore a Mississippi Beekeepers Association shirt and was asked to share his knowledge of beekeeping and its by products, which include honey, soap, candles and lip balm, he said.
“The people in Senegal earn only $1 per day,” Broadway said. “The missionary told me if I could teach the locals about bee keeping, then it might raise the standards of living for these folks.”
While on break from sharing God’s word, Broadway talked to several people about beekeeping, including an interepreter who now teaches a class of about 50 students.
This past February, Broadway also set up two apiaries in Senegal, which hold a colony of bees.
Here in Pearl River County and Starkville, Broadway has four apiaries and 13 colonies of bees.
His honey is bottled and sold in various retail locations throughout Picayune. The proceeds are donated to First Baptist Church of Picayune’s Senegal Missions fund, he said.
When he’s not bottling honey and tending to his bees, he visits local elementary schools and teaches the biology of bees to students.
Broadway said there are about 50 varieties of native bees and they play an important role in pollination efforts.
“Bees need nectar, pollen and water to survive,” Broadway said. “You do need to protect them. Make sure you have them where it’s not wet or damp and keep the temperature about 93 or 94 degrees.”
If the temperature gets too high, the bees sprinkle water on the hive and fan the air, Broadway said. The circulation cools the hive down.
The bees will not stay in a hive if the queen is not there, he said. However, if a colony is split, only one will have a queen. Once the bees realize this, they look to the eggs laid by the queen, which can total about 2,000. It takes about 16 days for a queen egg to hatch, Broadway said.
Broadway said pure honey is the only food that will not spoil.
“When they opened one of the pharaoh’s tombs, they found a crystallized jar of honey,” Broadway said. “Once it was warmed, it was just as good as it was 3,000 years ago.”
The bees work together to produce honey, he said.
During a flight, one of the female bees, who perform the majority of work, will gather nectar and then transfer it to another bee once she enters the hive again, Broadway said. The receiving bee takes the nectar into her stomach to make the honey. Once full, she transfers the honey into a cell in the comb.
“Once the frame is sealed, it’s ready to harvest,” he said. “I then de-cap it and put it into a centrifuge, which extracts the honey.”
Broadway said he sends his honey through four filters before bottling.
Although some people are afraid of bees, Broadway teaches them not to be fearful.
“They will only sting you if they believe you will harm them or their home,” he said.
While working with the bees, Broadway dons a net and covers his arms, legs and hands. He also uses a smoker, which calms the bees.
Broadway said it’s a joy to share his knowledge of bees with others.
“Sometimes I see a youngster at Walmart who remembers when I taught them about bees,” Broadway said. “I’ve enjoyed every career I’ve had and wouldn’t do anything different.”
Broadway’s honey can be purchased locally at Ashe’s Tire, located at Hwy. 43 N., Samples Western Auto, located at 301 W. Canal St. and ReflectTech in Picayune’s Industrial Parkway.

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