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Building bonds with beekeeping 

Son’s bee fascination leads to family “adventure” 


Gunnar Coe is a skillful beekeeper, with seven years of experience, 30 hives, his own brand and his own processing facility in which to take his work from hive to honey. He leads seminars at schools about the craft. He also stocks and maintains the observation beehive at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. 

Gunnar turned 12 in April. 

At age 5, Gunnar asked his father, Gerald Coe, for a hive of his own—repeatedly. His interest in beekeeping had been sparked by an episode of the television series, Curious George. In that episode, George was curious about honey and honeycombs. That got Gunnar curious, too. 

“That sparked something in me,” Gunnar says. “Dad finally, finally, finally gave in and got two hives. He got into us doing it together.” 

The project launched with pure excitement: “We could give away some honey and maybe sell some, too. Mom (Angela) will be our support team. We’ll name it Gunnar’s Bees.” 

But the hives died out a few months later. 

Gunnar and Gerald forgot one major step: learn all you can before starting a new venture. 

So the South Kentucky RECC consumer-members, who live in Russell County, started watching videos together about beekeeping. Gerald read Beekeeping for Dummies as well as numerous magazines on the topic. They talked about all they were learning. 

The persistence Gunnar showed getting his dad to buy the initial hives remained, so Gerald bought two more hives. But this time, they knew more. 

“You can’t give up,” the 12-year-old says to others who want to try something new. “You have to have discipline, and you have to keep interested even if it doesn’t work out the first time.” 

His dad adds, “It takes years to learn all you need to know.” 

Today, Gunnar’s Bees keeps growing stronger as does the relationship between Gerald and Gunnar. 

“It is such a blessing,” says Gerald of the beekeeping journey he is taking with his son. “This is Gunnar’s, but I still get excited seeing our relationship and the adventure grow.” 

Get more buzz from Gunnar at or Facebook: Gunnar’s Bees.

DEBRA GIBSON ISAACS writes about how co-op members and staff contribute to their communities.

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