“I’ve always liked bees and honey, and I wanted to have a beehive just for the fun of it. We only had one bee suit so we would dress up in a bunch of snow clothes with a makeshift veil. All duct taped together we were invincible….almost.”
This was how Alex and Jonathan Young first started their bee business at just seventeen and fifteen years old.
“Eventually we got real bee suits along with more adventures,” Jonathan told me, “like trying to harvest honey from a beehive inside a mountain cave– those bees were NOT nice. We continued to do bees mainly for the honey and the fun.”
Then one day their dad met a beekeeper named Mark who found out that they were into bees. That was when things really got serious. Mark mentored the Young boys, and they soon decided to take their bee fascination to the next level– selling wholesome honey!
“The problem was… we needed more beehives,” Jonathan said.
Instead of buying the bees these entrepreneurs found most frugal way to solve their problem. They launched a new side of the business and became ‘live bee removal’ experts! Now they are literally paid to get more bees and expand their honey business. How brilliant is that?!
Alexander and Jonathan first learned how to remove bees by helping Mark with his jobs, and doing some on their own for friends. “Really we learned just by getting out there and doing it,” Jonathan told me. Beginning beekeeping for teens is a great way to start your own business.
To get the business up and running they needed a vehicle to get to the job, bee suits (these are very important if you want to live!), a bee-vac (a special vacuum to remove the bees), and tools like drills, saws, and buckets.
The Youngs assembled the hive boxes and frames themselves, built their own website, and do all the advertising to save on business costs. They mainly advertise with Craigslist posts and also receive job referrals. “It’s hard to put a number on it, but we spent less than $500, excluding the truck, to get started.”
Since bee removal is seasonal, February to September, the number of jobs Stung and Sticky handles in a month or year can vary.
“Sometimes we’ll do four in a day and other times we’ll only do one in a week. I don’t have much of a monthly estimate, but we probably did around 100 bee removals in 2016.”
Watch these teens do a live bee removal!
My brother and I had the opportunity to drop in on Alexander and Jonathan when they were at a clients home nearby, and they expertly explained all their tools and their uses to us. These guys really know their stuff!
It was a little nervy with all the bees zooming around our heads as we talked, but I managed, once again, to escape with my amazing record of “never been stung”. 😉
Wow, did I get sticky though!!! Alexander showed us a honeycomb harvested from a job earlier that day. He explained that it was new honey which was why it was so light colored and sweet. They gave us each an oozing piece of comb to suck on, and the honey was soooo good! It tasted super pure and real! Way more fresh than any other honey I’ve ever had!
Alexander and Jonathan emphasize that their honey is ‘holistic honey’. When I heard this I was like, “Um… explain?!” Jonathan says that most beekeepers feed their bees sugar/syrup so they can harvest more honey, but this makes it more of a syrupy-sugary-thing and no longer pure honey.
Stung and Sticky makes a point of NOT doing this; their product is just plain, nutritious honey.
Jonathan continued, “After all the antibiotics people feed their bees, ultra filtering (which removes all the pollen and other beneficial things) and pasteurizing the honey– all you end up getting is your all-too-common, phony honey. We do not do any of this. Our bees feed off the local flora alone– the way God designed it to be.”
Me: Do you believe all the effort put into building this business has been worth it?
Definitely! We have learned (and are still learning) a TON about business, are getting some great experience and skills, and are building an awesome business.
Me: Where do you see your business in the future?
We would like to see it separate into two parts. More or less, the honey and beekeeping side and then the live bee removal side. We would like to grow Stung and Sticky to the point where we can work it as a full time job if we choose.
Me: Do you have a word to encourage our readers to greatness?
What an inspiring story! Stung and Sticky’s battle cry is “Save the Bees!” In providing a LIVE bee removal service they encourage people to save their bees rather than exterminate them.
I believe these two teens are doing something spectacular. Three cheers for the Stung and Sticky brothers!
Connect with Alexander and Jonathan Young through their website: Stung And Sticky
Do you have a hobby that you could turn into a business? Have you ever been stung by a bee? Would you be willing to battle bees to make a living?