Roadtrippin': Encounters with a U-Haul full of bees

If you get a chance to eat honey from the honeycomb, do it / KTUU Rebecca Palsha
If you get a chance to eat honey from the honeycomb, do it / KTUU Rebecca Palsha(KTUU)
Published: May. 3, 2017 at 3:30 PM AKDT
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Wednesday morning, Sarah Souder was feeling nervous. She had millions of bees in the back of a rented U-Haul that needed to get to Homer - immediately.

"They’re just fascinating creatures," Souder said. "I started this as just a hobby 16 years ago, and just really became fascinated with all their behaviors and how they communicate."

That passion became a business, which is how she ended up with boxes and boxes of bees that will be sold to other local beekeepers.

Sarah runs

in Kenai.

She sells honey and helps other people make, and run, their own beehives.

"It's therapy for me, I guess," Souders said. "I'm allergic to bees, but I can go out in the morning, in my pajamas, with my cup of coffee, and sit right next to the hive. Literally right next to where they're flying in and out, watching them come and go, and watching the different colors of pollen on their legs and go, ‘Oh, it's purple pollen. I wonder if my tulips bloomed?'"

Bees don’t naturally survive year-round in Alaska, but Souders encourages people to try to help them make it through the winter.

"It's actually not the cold that kills them," Souders said, "Most of the time, it’s the length of winter. What it boils down to is they're stuck inside their hive for sometimes seven months of the year, and so they need to poop. It needs to be 42 to 45 degrees outside for them to fly out of the hive do their business and get back inside. So when we have those winters, where we have a couple false breakups, they can get out and do that [poop], then they winter over a lot better."