What started as a father-daughter bonding activity could turn into a business for 13-year-old Lane Herbert.
The incoming Greenhill School eighth grader and her father Michael became beekeepers after Lane became one of nine to win a scholarship from the Collin County Hobby Beekeeping Association (CCHBA) in December. The scholarship allowed her to attend six seminars to learn the basics of the hobby. It also provided her with
$1,000 $500 worth of gear, including a hat, veil, gloves, hive tool, a bee smoker, and a small colony of honeybees (a nuc) for her hive.
“[The CCHBA members] are so driven to try and educate people, so that people like us could do it,” Michael said. “You don’t have to be weird to do bees. Normal people can do it and it’s very important for the environment.”
Lane and Michael each built their own hive at their home in Celina before receiving their first honeybees at the end of April. Lane’s hive is painted blue and Michael’s yellow. Each have their own queen bee, Queen Latifah and Queen Guinevere, respectively.
“It was a good time for father and daughter to be together. We both learned a lot about bees and nature and ecology,” Michael said.
Lane and Michael had their first honey harvest in July, from which they procured 120 pounds of honey.
“It was a really good first harvest,” Lane said.
In order to pass her training as part of the 20 hours of seminars she was awarded through the scholarship, Lane had to handle five bees with her bare hands.
“That was the worst,” Lane said. “I didn’t think I was scared of bees, but then I was out there with my bare hands and there’s 50,000 bees flying around. It’s pretty scary.”
Even so, she has yet to be stung by her bees.
Lane is working on a summer project, developing a label to put on the bottles of honey she plans to sell for $7.50 each. She also wants each product to have a sticker with a unique bee fact on the lid.
“Now we’re getting into elementary business experience,” Michael said. The pair is considering entering their honey into this year’s State Fair of Texas.
But honey isn’t her first market experience. For the past five years Lane has been selling eggs from her family’s 40 chickens at $2.50 a dozen. She donates the money to the McKinney SPCA every month and has so far raised over $1,000. “It makes me feel good, and I think it helps them because they’ve expanded,” she said.
Lane ultimately hopes to educate her peers, starting at Greenhill, about the importance of bees and their dwindling populations.
“I started bees hoping I could raise awareness about the declining bee population and problems with that,” Lane said. “I want to make sure that everyone knows that 75 percent of our crops need bees in order to survive. I want people to know bees aren’t bad and you shouldn’t go around killing them.”