Meet your Neighbour: 16-year-old beekeeper, Max Shearer
Max Shearer, 16-year-old beekeeper (Source: Rebecca Shearer)
LONDON, ONT. -- It's no easy task, but Max Shearer learned how take care of his hives in order to build his business, Honey Bee Good.
Shearer found an interest in bees after a trip Clovermead.
"I really liked the observation wall where you could see the bees working," Shearer says.
His interest peaked as he learned more about bees through workshops, club meetings and watching videos online. From there he hoped to start his own hives.
After a year of dedicated research, Shearer's father bought him two hives, each consisting of between 20,000-60,000 bees.
"My first year, the bees were growing in number really fast so I was able to split some hives and it's grown since then. A hive usually holds 10 frames in each box (deep) – where the bees store their honey."
That's where Honey Bee Good began. The small raw honey production company sells various products from the hives Shearer built up.
"I was really lucky because all of the local stores love honey and they are great people to visit when I deliver my honey to them."
"We have golden honey, which I won 4th place at the Royal Winter Fair's commercial division."
Along with golden honey, Honey Bee Good has creamed honey. Shearer's sister makes lip balm and paw protector from the beeswax, and his father has been known to make candles.
It's not an easy job by any means.
"Everything to do with honey bees is very time sensitive and you have to learn a lot," he says. "The winters are very hard on bees."
In fact, this past winter Shearer lost 22 of his 32 hives.
"It was a really sad day for me, but there's been lots of people asking about our hive co-op and we've got some t-shirts for sale to help re-build."
The young man with intellectual disabilities and is supported by Community Living St. Marys during the summer months says they taught him that everyone is capable of living an independent life if you have the right people backing you up.
"Everyone wants to have their own space and living arrangements, so why not people with a disability too."
Shearer donates $1 of his sales back to Community Living St Marys to whom he says he's very grateful for.
Honey Bee Good's Facebook page is full of great information on bees, products, and more for anyone interested.
With his product currently only sold in stores, Shearer says he's happy to deliver his honey in person, as meeting new friends is the best part of the job.