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Photo © Raíces Cultural Center 2014

by Francisco G. Gómez

We headed down Hamilton Street in New Brunswick towards Amwell Road to Flemington. The ride is about 40 minutes of beautiful country side once you get out of Brunswick. S&F Honey Farm is located on the border of Hillsborough and Flemington; it sits in a forest a few hundred yards off of Amwell. If you’re not careful, you can very easily miss it! We arrived a few minutes late. Stan was waiting for us on the driveway as we pulled up.

Well, what was supposed to be a 45 minute presentation by Stan, turned into more than two hours of information that exceeded the first class of any beekeeping course, I would wager. It seems that Stan is never in a rush when he talks about his bees. He’s been keeping the little critters for over 59 years, and yet he still speaks about them with such passion.

His home sits right next to a farm that grows genetically modified corn. He believes that the bio alterations in the corn that control pests are adversely affecting his hives. He spoke of unusual episodes of swarming and colony collapse disorder. He lamented that he lost about 30% of his hives this year to these problems. Stan has a keen understanding of environmental issues that impact bees, but more so, the detrimental affects that GMOs and pesticides are having on the global landscape.

Photo © Raíces Cultural Center 2014
Photo © Raíces Cultural Center 2014

On a more positive note, he walked us over to the hives he keeps on his property. He explained the differences between a nucleus hive ,or nuc as it is commonly called, a package of bees and a Langstroth beehive, amongst many other things. Of particular interest was his queen boxes and the way he cultivates them. For me it was really exciting because I was hoping that he would show us this particular type of box and he did. Stan passed around a small container that held an inseminated Carniolan queen. He explained the intricate process of growing queens, and let me just say that it is a rather delicate undertaking, requiring knowledge that only comes with age, experience and lots of patience.

Photo © Raíces Cultural Center 2014

Stan then took us over to the small store he runs right on his property. It’s filled with everything that a would be bee keeper would ever need. He keeps a bee box next to his counter that’s filled with frames covered with enlarged pictures, indicating the different stages of bee hive development, as well as, unfavorable conditions that may plague the hive. Stan entertained the many questions we all had and then he gave us a sample of some delicious honey comb that his bees had drawn out, the taste was superb!

Photo © Raíces Cultural Center 2014

If you’re into bees, or believe you’d like to be, then make sure to pay Stan a visit if you’re in the Flemington area. Just make sure you call before you make the trip; Stan is always doing something and many times he’s away from home. Believe me, you won’t be sorry you stopped by for chat with this most knowledgeable apiarist. Make sure to buy some of his honey; as I’ve already mentioned, it’s incredibly tasty and it’s New Jersey local. Stan’s contact info is:

S&F Honey Farm
57 Amwell Road
Flemington, N.J. 08822
Apiarist – Stan Wasitowski

If you would like to start your own bee hive, you can purchase a prefabricated Langstroth box from Stan. You would have to put it together, of course, or you can order one from Raíces already built. For further information on supporting Raíces’ Bee Initiative by getting your box from us, please call 908.227.5671 or email me at: fuyo@raicesculturalcenter.org

Before you make your decision to buy a bee box, it is wise to take an introductory bee keeper course. Would be bee keepers who jump right in without any instruction will make many mistakes that can easily be avoided by taking the simple course. Contact the Central Jersey Bee Keepers Association or the New Jersey Bee Keepers Association for course offerings.

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