With a history of beekeeping in Donald Dees’ family, it seems that Donald himself, running an apiary, is simply meant to bee. Today, Dees Bees Apiary is one of the top suppliers of local “liquid gold” in Moore County, and producing premium raw honey while maintaining healthy, happy bees is a top priority.
“Although there is a long history of beekeeping in my family, three generations at least, I have only been beekeeping since 2015,” recounted Donald. “In the mid-1970s, I would come up and spend a few weeks in the summer helping on my uncle’s bee farm, Shepard and Sons Bee Farm.”
Donald Dees, owner of Dees Bees, talks about bees in April 2023. Video by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Abegail Murphy.
Now, with eight years in the beekeeping business, beekeeping has become a way of life, and hardly a day passes that Donald and his team don’t do something bee related.
Dees Bees currently works with over 65 hives in and around southern Moore County. With his hives’ health, safety, and happiness in mind, Donald considers sustainability factors before placing colonies and establishing an apiary, focusing on acquiring and maintaining productive honey bee habitats.
“The best thing about Dees Bees Apiary is the customer satisfaction of producing and bringing to market a Moore County-produced premium honey,” said Donald, who is genuinely enthusiastic about providing the Sandhills with a clean, high-quality product they can safely trust. “In addition, the unsolicited feedback from customers across the county and country is priceless.”
According to Donald, customers routinely stop and question him about the use of pesticides and chemicals in his honey, and he’s always happy to tell them his product is all-natural and made from healthy, local bees.
“Customers can rest assured that our product is locally produced and locally harvested by our bees located in and around Moore County. Our motto is ‘The trusted source for Moore County-produced local honey,’ and that speaks volumes.”
Donald Dees, owner of Dees Bees, shows Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Abegial Murphy his bees in April 2023.
When it comes to the bees themselves, Donald puts a great deal of effort into making sure his bees are happy and that the hives are properly cared for. He has traveled around Moore County to successfully remove bee swarms and relocate them to a safer area where the hive can thrive.
He explained the vast amount of time, energy, and effort that goes into caring for such a large amount of bee colonies year-round and proudly showed off how he checks on his hives, ensuring that each component of every hive is in working order and running smoothly.
Donald additionally noted that the flavor and color of honey varies depending on the type of flower or plant the bees have foraged lately, which changes based on the availability of plant life, location of the hive, and time of year.
Dees Bees’ products are sold at over 17 locations, including both locations of Burney Hardware, both locations of Pinescones, Davenports Galaxy, and the Southern Pines Visitor Center—contributed photo.
“Our honey is primarily composed of Tulip Poplar with some wildflower, American Holly, and Wisteria notes. Some years we also have a light flow of Sourwood in early June, but that’s very hit and miss,” explains Donald on the Dees Bees official website. “Some years we get the prized purple honey. Of course, each year’s blooming season brings a noted variety and difference, in a good way, in the flavors and colors of honey produced.”
Dees Bees honey is currently sold at over 17 locations all across the Sandhills. To check out a complete list of vendor locations or to find out more about Dees Bees Apiary, visit www.deesbeesapiary.com, or find them on social media as Dees Bees Apiary, LLC on Facebook and @deesbeez on Instagram.
Feature photo: Donald Dees, owner of Dees Bees, shows you a look inside his apiary in April 2023. Sandhills Sentinel/Abegail Murphy.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Abegail Murphy.