Selfies: Pushing to be one of the best in the beekeeping industry at Colorado Mountain Honey | PostIndependent.com

Selfies: Pushing to be one of the best in the beekeeping industry at Colorado Mountain Honey

Derrick Maness started beekeeping 23 years ago when he was only 14 after being inspired by his middle school science teacher. He began working at Western Colorado Honey with Paul Limbach at a young age and now owns Colorado Mountain Honey, which is located in Silt next to the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation.
Although the farm and facility is located in Silt, the hives are spread throughout the Western Slope. Limbach, Maness and their teams take care of close to 3,000 hives, which equates to roughly 200 million bees raised locally.

Maness has spent the last several years researching and working with Colorado State University to fight the varroa destructor mite, which has contributed greatly to the rapid decline of honey bee populations. "Mites are on everything," Maness said. "They already knew how to combat mites, we just didn't know how to fight this mite," he added. "How do you kill a bug on bug?"

Maness and his right-hand man, Josh McCue, check the health of the hives weekly in order to stay on top of mite infestations. "We really are pushing to be one of the best of the industry with that," Maness said.

Colorado Mountain Honey and Western Colorado Honey work together as one of the only operations that do every step of the honey making process themselves: raising the bees, harvesting, bottling and separating the different varieties of honey. The different locations and climates where each hive is located across the Western Slope produce multiple different honey flavors because of the wide variety of flowers surrounding the hives.

"We want to have our hands in every step of the process to ensure people are getting the most unique honeys in the world," Maness said.

All photos and video by PI Staff Photographer Chelsea Self. cself@postindependent.com