Generational “Buzz”: The Legacy of Honey Grove Apiaries

A rich heritage of beekeeping, spanning three generations, has grown into a thriving enterprise for one dedicated individual in Southeast Wisconsin. Nick Thill, owner of Honey Grove Apiaries and the president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association (WHPA), was introduced to beekeeping when he was only 12 years old when his aunt gave him his first six hives. Little did he know that this would seed a lifelong passion. 

“I have grown my operation from the original six hives to now having about 350,” says Thill. “We specialize in direct-to-consumer sales, predominantly in Southeast Wisconsin, particularly the Milwaukee area.”

However, like many beekeepers across Wisconsin, Thill faces a plethora of challenges. Dealing with issues like brood mite infestations and the changing agricultural landscape has significantly impacted bee nutrition and foraging opportunities. Moreover, the unexpected arrival of black bears in Southeast Wisconsin has become a pressing concern. This has resulted in the establishment of the Black Bear Advisory Committee.

“The WHPA provides a platform for beekeepers of all scales, fostering a community that encourages education, networking, and skill enhancement,” explains Thill. “This association facilitates numerous events, such as conventions and district meetings, offering both beekeepers and the public opportunities to learn and engage.”

Looking ahead, Thill says he and  the WHPA are focused on the importance of education for aspiring beekeepers. 

He adds, “We encourage newcomers to seek mentorship, attend meetings, and absorb as much information as possible. Understanding the magnificent world of bees firsthand is a compelling reason to join this field.”