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Cabell County beekeeper explains his sweet hobby

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WOWK) – Ken Miller has a sweet hobby that attracts quite the buzz. “It’s a fun thing to do,” Miller said. “It’s fun to talk to people about it.”

What most of us would run from, Ken lives for. “I’m a beekeeper,” Miller said. “I’m a hobbyist beekeeper.”

It started more than 15 years ago for Ken and he says it runs in his blood.

“My grandfather did it. My dad did it. My brother did it. So, I said, ‘What the heck, I think I’ll do it,'” Miller said. “When I gather a swarm from time-to-time, there’s always a group that shows up from somewhere and you get to actually share with them what you’re doing.”

Miller says he has a great time teaching people about bees, but he also says it’s what we can learn from them that’s golden.

“They all just work together; it’s in their genetic makeup,” Miller said.

When bees are first born they are the keepers of the hive, cleaning, and feeding. Miller says once they hit a certain age they leave. “They go out and start foraging for pollen and honey,” Miller said.

But it’s short-lived. A bee only lives for about four to five weeks during the summer. “Bees literally work themselves to death,” Miller said. “Their wings will just wear out and they can’t fly anymore.”

Miller is a member of the Cabell Wayne Beekeepers Association. A local, hive-mind that meets every other month to discuss the latest and advise beginners. It’s proven to be beneficial for novice beekeeper Emily Gaskins.

“If they’re curious, if they want to know what it’s about, if they’re just getting their feet wet and getting started,” Gaskins said. “It’s just a great place to come and learn what to do and to be mentored in beekeeping.”

For Miller, it’s more than just beekeeping. He says the honey he gets from his bees is almost as sweet as the folks he meets along the way.

“You get to know people,” Miller said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

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