Bee Business is Big Business

Texas-bound: Minnesota beekeepers’ hives on the move

Robin Bradshaw, Hearst

Here’s what to know about Bolton Bee’s the beekeepers revolutionizing the business in partnership with solar farms.  Oliver Rossi/Getty Images

The bee business is big business for business owners and beekeepers Travis and Chiara Bolton of “Bolton Bees.”

Beekeepers from Bolton Bees have headed to the warmer temperatures of Texas for the winter, a common practice in the bee business.  Bolton Bees

The entrepreneurs headed to Texas from Minnesota as temperatures drastically drop across the northern region of the U.S., a common practice for many beekeepers, according to the couple, adding that they have loaded up the pallets of bee hives and boxes on a large truck and headed south for the winter to a new property purchased outside of Beaumont.

While in the Lone Star State, the Bolton’s will be raising queen bees, splitting hives and helping flow the honey for their business up north. Not only do they sell hives for commercial and hobby beekeepers, but they were the first business in the U.S. to create and support pollinating plants at solar farms with bee hives, according to a report from National Geographic, adding that the company now hosts a total of 10 solar farms in Minnesota.

“It’s become a common practice in Minnesota and Michigan for solar farms to be multipurpose,” said Travis Bolton. “Solar farms take up a lot of space, so it makes more sense to use a multifaceted approach, he said, adding that many solar farms now in Minnesota must be pollinated for other agricultural uses in addition to the solar panels.

Minnesota Habitat Friendly Solar Program encourages developers to plant wildflowers and native plants along with panels to make them more appealing to pollinators and farmers.

The solar panel bee farms contributed to (our) “Solar Honey” business; a retail customer-labeled item sold throughout the country, he explains.

While the Bolton’s do not have any solar farm interests currently in Texas, he said they are “open to entertaining the idea – depending on the location,” and open to helping a solar farm as a consultant to become more knowledgeable on the know how’ with suggested beekeepers nearby and help with customer labeled solar honey.

The Bolton’s will be in Texas for the next few months before heading back to Minnesota with hopefully some epic Texas queen bees. To check out their beekeeping excursions, follow them at Bolton Bees on Facebook or visit online at Bolton Bees & Honey.

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