Biz Buzz Monday: Area apiary builds buzz through agritourism

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from The Galena (Ill.) Territory, we will share additional developments in Tuesday’s edition.

ELIZABETH, Ill. — An area beekeeper is drumming up some buzz with the recent launch of his agritourism business.

Chase Dittmar recently launched Dry Creek Beekeeping as an agritourism-focused apiary. Dittmar oversees a dozen hives around The Galena Territory and offers beekeeping boot camps, tours and honey tastings at 489 S. Clark Lane.

“I think it’s a very important thing for people to be able to learn about bees, not just people who want to become beekeepers, but also for the general population to be able to learn more about bees as important pollinators and not just insects that sting,” Dittmar said.

Dittmar, 19, has been beekeeping for nearly seven years. He used money he received for his birthday to buy his first hive at age 13 after meeting a local beekeeper and soon-to-be mentor through his local 4-H program.

He sold his first jar of honey one year later, and his involvement grew from there.

In 2021, Dittmar started a YouTube channel dubbed Dry Creek Beekeeping. He posted informational videos on beekeeping basics, hive inspections and more for viewers across the country. The channel uncovered a love of teaching that this summer prompted Dittmar to launch his in-person offerings.

“It started as just a few videos, but later on people started approaching me about doing mentorships or wanting more information and I thought, ‘I could really do this as a business,’” he said.

Dittmar tries to offer a wide range of hands-on learning opportunities. The honey tastings, for example, can be scheduled at the Dittmar family farm or set up at private homes, businesses or other venues.

The beekeeping boot camp teaches attendees the basics of the profession, while the private tours offer a more one-on-one learning experience. Once a week, Dittmar also offers a sunset tour where attendees can watch the bees return to the hive after a day of foraging.

“I think a lot of people are surprised that it’s not actually that scary to be around a bunch of bees,” he said. “I think a lot of people go into it thinking, ‘Oh bees, they’re going to sting me,’ but we get them suited up out there and they learn there’s really so much more to it.”

More information about Dry Creek Beekeeping offerings and relevant booking information can be found online at Updates also are posted regularly on the Dry Creek Beekeeping Facebook page.