‘I always wanted to do it:’ Anchorage man raises bees on rooftop

‘I always wanted to do it:’ Anchorage man raises bees on rooftop
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 8:15 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 12:12 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Bees have been a lifelong passion for Tim Huffman, a hobbyist beekeeper in Anchorage.

“I’m sure I read a book as a kid about bees and it fascinated me and I always wanted to do it,” Huffman said.

Now at 66 years old, the buzz hasn’t died down.

“I just love how fascinating bees are,” Huffman said. “Just in the way they build comb and these perfect shapes in the dark.”

In 2018, Huffman finally took the steps to start his first hive after decades of wanting to become a beekeeper. In 2020, he began harvesting honey and keeping bees on the roof of Alaska Pacific Beverage Company.

Now, three years later, he has seven hives buzzing on the rooftop; each hive houses around 10,000 to 15,000 Alaska mutt bees in polystyrene hives.

Raising colonies of bees in Alaska is busy work. This is especially true in the winter when Huffman makes his regular visits to the roof to take care of his bees, partly to keep a close eye on their temperature.

“I’ve got a Bluetooth temperature sensor in there and I can download the internal temperature to my phone,” Huffman said.

The bees, he said, tend to keep their colonies at 64 degrees. One of the ways he is ensuring that they stay warm is by storing emergency sugar using a polystyrene shim, instead of a wooden shim.

It’s a creation Huffman figured out after numerous episodes of trial and error.

“So, I just figured out you can put it inside a box and I made this little shim out of foam insulation,” Huffman said.

He also added a little plexiglass window, so on cold days, his bees are not exposed to the weather when he is checking up on them.

“So I can see when they start on the sugar and then once they start I can lift it up and add more if they need to,” Huffman said.

At the moment, Huffman says all seven of his colonies are alive.