9 to 5: Glenn Hile, Beekeeper
For some, the typical 9 to 5 workday is not about offices, paperwork or meetings.
Here is a look at the “different” ways people in Fort Wayne earn a living.
What started as a hobby has become more of a side-hustle for beekeeper Glenn Hile. “Anyone with more than one or two hives is more than an enthusiast. I run 40 hives, so beekeeping is a part-time job,” said Hile. “My wife got me started in beekeeping 15 years ago when she gave me some beekeeping equipment; and it has blossomed to a nice sideline business, but I am at my limit with 40 hives. Once you get more than 30-40 hives, it becomes a full-time job. I do it because I love it. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m working, I just want to enjoy it.”
Because of the city’s ordinance that only allows two hives per lot, Hile has to scatter his hives around northern Allen County to eight or nine different locations.
According to Hile, the key to beekeeping is you can’t mind the hard work and heat – having to wear long pants and a net over your head in the summer. “You also have to be able to keep the bees alive and healthy which is a bit of challenge right now due to mites,” he said. The bees are contracting viruses from being bit by mites and then pass on the viruses to the other bees in the hive. And of course, you can’t be bothered by getting stung.
The other big issue beekeepers have to deal with is grass. “When I give talks at schools and community groups, I say, ‘Grass is the number one killer of bees.’ Grass offers no nutritional value for bees, butterflies or other pollinators. People spray their lawns to kill weeds like dandelions and clover; but these weeds are very important to bees. Neighborhoods look like golf courses, but all of the chemicals sprayed and lack of wildflowers is what is killing the bees,” said Hile.
He added that the hives he has located in the city do better than the ones located in the country. “My hives in the city’s older neighborhoods are the best producing. People downtown don’t seem to take as good care of their lawns and have lots of clover and dandelions in their yards.”
If anyone is interested in planting things that will appeal to bees and other pollinators, purple cone flowers, anything from the mint family, sunflowers and wildflowers are great.
The honey that the bees produce is typically harvested in August and early September. “Although the honey you are buying now at the farmers’ markets is from last year’s harvest, honey doesn’t go bad; it lasts forever,” said Hile.
He also educates people on the role bees play in the community. “If you go to the produce department in a grocery store, look around. Without bees the only produce that will be left is the green leafy stuff – spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts.”
Hile is involved in the local bee association, National Indiana Beekeeper’s Association, which has local monthly meetings to assist anyone interested in beekeeping and protecting the bees. neiba.org
Glenn’s Natural Honey
3924 Spanish Trail, 260.433.4297