Keeper of the bees

Last updated on May 28th, 2022 at 05:09 am

A couple dozen beestings are not enough to keep Brian Kortendick from living the life of a beekeeper.

Kortendick, vice president of Racine-based Kortendick Hardware, has been keeping bees for the past three years and began after a friend’s collection of beehives on his farm in Colorado piqued his interest.

Kortendick’s own beehives sit high above the ground on the roof of Kortendick Ace Hardware in Racine, where they can live in a warmer environment away from people, other bugs, and animals like raccoons and skunks.

While the hives he cared for last year did not survive the winter, they were able to produce 70 pounds of honey for harvest, 40 pounds of which he sold. The rest Kortendick split among his friends and family.

His love for tupelo honey – he eats it nearly every day – and the simple pleasure of raising his colonies fuel his passion for beekeeping.

He is also impressed by bees’ instincts to work together to survive and prosper from year to year and recognizes that his work as a beekeeper benefits far more than his own life.

“I think I’m helping the environment as a whole (because) I’ve got all these little creatures that are out there pollinating and doing their thing to help the plants out there fill their lifecycle,” Kortendick said.

Kortendick has learned that bees handle most of the work and his role as beekeeper largely involves maintaining their habitat.

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