Busy as a bee: Want to taste real Destin honey or remove a hive? Go to the Honey Pot

Jessica Coker
From left, Beekeepers Jerry and son Jared Waits stand in their newly opened storefront The Honey Pot in Destin where they sell their local honey and other items.

The Waits family is the brains behind the buzz of Destin's newest business, The Honey Pot.

Opening less than a month ago, The Honey Pot has already carved out a niche as a one-stop shop for anything bee-related in Destin. Although the storefront may be new, the business of bees isn't altogether new to the Waits family, according to Christen, who told The Log her husband Jared and father-in-law Jerry are the experts in the bee field.

"They've been beekeeping for about three years," said Christen.

With 12 hives throughout Destin — and each hive housing anywhere from 5,000 bees to more than 100,000 bees — the father-son beekeeper team started running out of room to store their honey.

That's where The Honey Pot came into play.

"We sell bottles of our honey, homemade candles, soap and a lot more," said Jerry.

The family is in the process of finishing the labels for all of their products in their skincare line, Bee Renewed.

In addition to selling their homegrown, hometown honey, The Honey Pot offers guests breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

"Once more word gets out, we'll offer more of a dining variety," said Christen. "But until then, we have coffee, cappuccino, bagels and sandwiches."

A unique service The Honey Pot offers is bee swarm and hive removal. Jerry and Jared frequently strap on their bee suits when an unwelcome swarm invades an area home or business.

Using what bee experts call a bee vacuum — a specially designed vacuum allowing insects to be sucked into the chamber without being injured or killed as they would with an ordinary vacuum — the Waits are not exterminators.

"We don't kill them," said Jared. "We rescue them. We introduce them into one of our hives once they are safely removed."

The actual process of swarming is fascinating in itself, Jared told The Log. Each hive contains only one queen, no matter its population, and typically because of overcrowding they begin swarming.

"The queen will take half of the hive with her to find a new, bigger place to make their home," said Jared. "The other half stays behind at their old hive a few more days, hatching a new queen from one of the existing larvae."

Essentially, it's almost like cloning the queen.

Honey isn't just for sweetening bitter tea anymore either, some say that ingesting anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of honey a day can help with a number of medical ailments, including allergies, diabetes and arthritis. But, the geographically closer the honey is, the stronger its benefits.

Located at 4014 Commons Drive West, Suite 102, The Honey Pot can be reached by calling 837-8885 or on Facebook.com/TheHoneyPotDestin.