LAKE TOXAWAY — Nestled in the middle of a pristine mountain forest is a tour experience like no other — the Killer Bees Honey Bee Farm & Honey Tasting Tour.

Bookings are available Fridays and Saturdays, May through August.

The inside look at Killer Bees Honey (KBH) is a honey culinary adventure. The tour is so immersive and interesting it was awarded Tripadvisor’s 2020 Travelers’ Choice award, reserved for experiences in the top 10 percent of reviews from Tripadvisor travelers worldwide.

The tour

The KBH expertly guided 4-hour tour begins with an introduction from owners, Sean Collinsworth and Denise Altay. The tour, given in small groups, delves into the biodiversity of the forest.

Learn why honeybees are the heartbeat of a healthy environment and the lifeblood responsible for 50% of the food supply. Bee experts discuss the intensity of a hive, the power of the Queen, and the fierce loyalty of her female subjects.

Surrounded by 512,000 farm-free acres of the Pisgah National Forest, the bees of KBH fly up to three miles from the hives for nectar, untouched by pesticides or other toxins.

The sessions are lively and fun, with facts about the hive and Killer Bees Honey’s purity and monofloral uniqueness.

Then, attendees don traditional bee suits, covered head to toe, to participate in a guided “meet and greet” with the bees. Guests go into the bee yard with the beekeeper to inspect a hive, hold a bee frame full of bees, and experience the thrill of a Queen sighting.

After the hive viewing, guests indulge in a honey tasting from the Killer Bees apiary, paired with light foods and champagne.

Accolades

“The trip is a hidden gem,” wrote tourgoer Anderson Schreiber. “No hesitation in giving this five stars, all the way around.”

People rave about the taste of the honey, including Jason Tardo, head chef at Half Mile Farm, sister property of the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, who uses KBH in culinary creations.

“What can I say about Carolina Clover honey from Killer Bees — I have never tasted honey with such an initial floral burst and so obviously pure,” Tardo said. “As a chef, I find it refreshing to know the beekeeper, Sean, is incredibly knowledgeable about his bees. It’s a lifelong passion of his, and it shows.”

The tour is featured nationally in the book “Places to Bee — A Guide to Apitourism,” by Lynette Porter.

Collinsworth, a certified North Carolina Beekeeper, is one of few Americans to achieve certification with the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey from the CNR Research Center (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche) in Bologna, Italy.

Killer Bees Honey’s 75-acre apiary is now officially a “Wildlife Refuge” under the NC Wildlife Conservation Lands Program.

Booking

KBH tours are for people ages 12+. Covid precautions are observed.

To book, visit https://www.killerbeeshoney.com/pages/honey-tours-and-tastings. Private tours are available.

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