News of Otsego County


Beekeeping becomes big upstate activity, hobby
Richard Lercari checks one of his hives. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego)

Beekeeping becomes big upstate activity, hobby

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

The sound of bees humming is audible all around at the Straight from the Hive bee farm where a number of hives are literally buzzing with activity.

Richard Lercari, the beekeeper who runs Straight from the Hive, is very much a bee person. He has a bee hat and wears bee socks and speaks about his interest in bees.

“I’m totally fascinated by bees,” Lercari said. “I can spend all day just watching the entrance to the hive.”

Lercari used smoke in order to make the bees think about abandoning the hive, which makes it easier to check the combs. The potential of a thunderstorm that day, he said, also makes them more likely to be placid because they can sense weather.

He said the bees won’t sting unless they feel threatened by somebody taking a swipe at one of them.

Dressed in his heavy bee suit on a hot morning, Tuesday, June 8, Lercari is checking each individual hive component for the queen. He goes through each individual panel until he finds her and points out the white dot on the bee marking her out. The panels are covered with bees and there are close to a hundred in that hive alone.


Richard Lercari poses in front of hives. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego)

But Lercari said that bees will safely coexist with him until he has to start extracting honeycombs.

“They are not pets and they have only one thing in mind: survival of the colony,” Lercari said.

He says that he checks the hives frequently to see if the queen is laying eggs and how much of the brood, the male bees, have hatched.

“You’re supposed to talk to the bees. You’re supposed to confide in them about important parts of your life,” Lercari said, saying that doing so was a beekeeping tradition.

Lercari said he got started beekeeping because he got interested in using honeycomb for cooking.

“It wasn’t that big of a stretch to go from cooking food to making honeycomb,” Lercari said.

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