Cary teen beekeeper produces award-winning honey

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Cary teen beekeper produces award-winning honey
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Molly Carlson manages 12 hives across the Triangle, each colony having about 30,000 bees.

CARY, NC (WTVD) -- Molly Carlson is an 18-year-old senior about to graduate from the North Carolina Virtual Academy. You could say she surrounds herself with a little more buzz than the average teenager.

"I'm a beekeeper. I collect honey from the bees, I keep other people's bees, I mentor people," Carlson said.

Carlson has been able to build a business selling her honey through her company Three Little Birds Apiary while attending the public online charter school. She did not go into beekeeping to try and build a business, but her honey has won awards, including a blue ribbon at the N.C. State Fair. Carlson was sponsored by the Orange Co. Beekeepers Association and fell in love with beekeeping.

"They gave me two hives, they taught me how to become a beekeeper," Carlson said. "They put me through bee school, hooked me up with a mentor," she said. "I'm fascinated with the way they manage their hive and how they work. The workers are really the ones that control the hive," Carlson said.

Today, Carlson manages 12 hives across the Triangle. Each colony has about 30,000 bees, so she is managing about 360,000 bees. Carlson said she has been able to operate her beekeeping business nearly full-time by attending the online public charter school, North Carolina Virtual Academy.

"NCVA allows me the opportunity to do my classwork four days of the week and take that one day off and go and check all my bees," Carlson said.

Her parents said she has learned much more than the important role the insects play in agriculture.

"She had to do public speaking and fill out reports, things like that," mom Kelly Carlson said. After graduation, Molly will head to Louisiana for an internship with the USDA. She plans to attend Wake Tech Community College in the fall so she can continue managing her bees and her business. She plans to pursue a career working with bees after college.

Learn more about beekeeping HERE.