Beekeeping Tips: Memphis Area Beekeeper Offers Advice

The sound of the angry bees was almost deafening. Despite the ominous cacophony of the buzz, Mike Finnern calmly pulled a tray full of bees and a capped honeycomb from the active hive.

“As long as you’ve got the right protective gear, you’ll be fine,” he said, turning the tray to look for the queen bee—his face inches away from the busy bees.

Beekeeping is a hobby Finnern, a retired dentist, picked them up about six years ago.

Today, he has about 10 active hives in his backyard in Bartlett, producing a rich, amber-colored honey that has attracted the attention of chefs such as Andrew Armstrong of Bounty on Broad. “It’s the best honey I’ve ever tasted,” says Armstrong, who uses it in a Honey Tree Cake dessert on his restaurant’s menu.

Beekeeper Mike Finnern poses for a portrait outside the apiary in the backyard of his Bartlett home on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Finnern isn’t alone when it comes to Memphis beekeeping as a hobby.

Eric Caron, president of the Memphis Area Beekeepers Association, said the organization typically has more than 300 current members at any given time.

But the number of beekeepers in the region is even greater.

“My guess is there are over 1,000 active beekeepers in the Memphis area,” he said.

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