Fargo - Bob Morlock started keeping bees when he was 11 years old. Now, it’s a full-time job.
He founded Morlock Honey Farms after buying out a retiring Moorhead beekeeper he worked for. Now, the Casselton-based company operates in North Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and California.
Morlock, 51, has more than 200 bee yards, or apiaries, between Minnesota and North Dakota.
One of his Fargo apiaries contains
56 colonies. Each colony can house up to 50,000 bees and produce more than 100 pounds of extra honey for the beekeeper to harvest.
In addition to selling honey, Morlock also rents out some of his bees to other beekeepers.
Morlock said the recent mysterious mass die-offs of bees across the country known as “colony collapse disorder” hasn’t hit his business. In fact, the demand for his bees has grown as a result.
What’s it like being a beekeeper?
It’s a great job to have. You get to be outdoors every day. After you get tired of doing a job for a while, you’re usually doing something else.
You get to see the wildlife in the country as you’re traveling.
Do you have a certain favorite place you like to work?
Well, North Dakota’s home. The traveling’s just part of the job. I enjoy wherever I’m at.
Everything’s usually a different aspect of the job. The winters in Texas are a lot nicer than the winters in North Dakota.
How do you stay safe?
We wear protective veils and light-colored clothing. The bees are aggressive towards dark, fuzzy objects so we try to wear light-colored clothing.
What would you say is the hardest thing about the job?
It’s a lot of hard, physical work. You’re working in the heat.
In Texas, it’s usually hot and humid, or down towards the coast where the humidity level’s high.
And we put in a lot of hours. The job kind of never ends. We just go from one part of it to another part. So, we usually put in a lot of time. That’s probably the one thing most people don’t care for.
And the traveling. I have a hard time getting workers because they don’t like to be gone from their families.