Ryan “Mac” McDonald and Bobby Thanepohn were pretty chill for a couple of fellows sitting near thousands and thousands of stinging insects.
It was early October. Rain was making quiet threats overhead and a breeze was picking up. On a hillside overlooking a little mountain road near Dahlonega, the pair of beekeepers surveyed their apiary — the name given to a collection of beehives, and which is quite unlike an aviary, where birds are kept — lazing in tailgating chairs parked next to a couple of pickups and waiting for this interview, unconcerned about the honey bees wafting to and fro.
But they wouldn’t be concerned, would they, as a couple of experienced beekeepers who run what is now the award-winning honey company Bobbee MacBees — not to mention they’re military veterans who have seen worse than the business-end of a bug.
Three years of fine-tuning their company paid off this year, as they left the Georgia Beekeepers Association annual conference this September with a first place for their amber honey, creamed honey (which isn’t what you think it is) and their beeswax block (which is exactly what you think it is).