Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How sweet it is: Honey business good in Uintah Basin

Bees are awesome.

That’s the opinion of Gaylon Yack, owner of Yack Brothers Honey Company in Roosevelt.

Spend a little time with the man and it’s hard not to come away with the same opinion.

“One thing about a bee is they never stop working,” he said. “Nothing makes a bee happier than to work.

That’s what they live to do and that’s what they do best.” Which means that a beekeeper can never really stop, either.

Yack owns the business started by his father in the 1940s after his return from World War II, and cousins Robert Yack and Steve Yack are also part of the company.

September is national honey month. The honey bee is the Utah state insect, and the bee hive is the state emblem. That’s a lot of accolades for a small being with a life span of only months. Yack noted that honey bees born in June of this year have probably already passed away.

In its lifespan, a bee will produce about a teaspoon of honey. Of that, much goes back into feeding the hive, with only about one-third stored in superframes in the hive, which is what Yack harvests.

It goes without saying that it takes a lot of bees to have a successful honey business. The company owns 7,000 colonies of bees, and there is probably about 80,000 to 120,000 bees per colony.

While honey has always been prized as a sweetener with a long shelf life, there are other health benefits that have come to be associated with the sweet goo. “It’s full of antioxidants, and they have reported it does wonder on burns and spider bites,” he said. While it hasn’t been proven yet, Yack also notes there is currently speculation that eating a lot of honey may prevent cancer. A little bit of honey mixed in hot tea is good for coughs.

Many people consume honey for help in battling allergies. The thinking is you should eat local honey to help with allergies to local plants. Because Yack Brothers mixes its locally produced honeys, people are getting all the local floral sources covered. Yack said he believes the recommended dose is one teaspoon of honey a day.

The fact that honey will last forever also makes it appealing for food storage and emergency preparedness.

While working with bees keeps him as busy as one, Yack enjoys his business and being his own boss. He is in awe of his thousands of tiny workers. Vernal Express