Local Beekeeper is Quite the Busy Bee Herself
By Wendy Pollitzer
Featured in The Island News
January 27, 2011
You might have noticed her place on St. Helena on your way to the Sea Islands. Her home/office is a cute, cedar-shake sided, two-story cottage on the right as you come off the Cowan Creek Bridge. CPA by day, musician by night, soon-to-be pilot on the weekends and full-time beekeeper, Dawn Frank is a woman of many talents.
When I went to visit Dawn, I thought to myself, “how cool is this girl?” She was on the phone with her flying instructor from Anderson Aviation at Frogmore International, discussing the wind and the probability of flying. For someone so ambitious, Dawn’s disposition was quite calming. Her motto? “We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails.”
She offered my coffee, and we chatted a bit about how she looked familiar. She said, “Well, you might have seen me play acoustic at Nippy’s.”
“Yes,” I said. “That’s it.
I remember seeing her play during the summer. She plays a mix of every decade, from the 40’s and 50’s to today. Bruno Mars is her current favorite cover.
See what I mean. Cool, huh? And we hadn’t even started talking bees yet.
Dawn suffered from unbearable allergies a few years ago. She’d heard that local honey helps with the dreadful symptoms. And, her brother-in-law was a beekeeper, so she thought she’d start a beehive.
It became an obsession. She has one hive in her back yard, with eleven more coming in the Spring. She also has five on her farm in Hampton County.
Dawn started her own label, Frogmore Farmaceuticals, in October. The label has become a local favorite. There are three varieties: Wildflower, Sweet Melon and Tupelo Honey. Each takes on the flavor of the item that the bees pollinate. The Wildflower and Sweet Melon (Watermelon and Cantaloupe) varieties come from local hives, while the Tupelo Honey comes from trees along the Edisto River.
As soon as she gets the okay from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she’ll expand her label to include hand and lip balms too.
Currently, Lulu Burgess on Bay Street, Mangoes on Fripp Island, Therapeutic Solutions on Lady’s Island and Higher Ground in Beaufort Town Center sells Frogmore Farmaceuticals.
She’s so intrigued with beekeeping, she wants to start a local Beekeeping Club in an effort to share equipment and information and simply help fellow beekeepers. The closest club is the Lowcountry Beekeeper’s Association in Cottageville. Dawn believes there are enough local beekeepers here to start a similar club. If you’re interested, shoot Dawn an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn shared some interesting facts with me and loaned me her copy of “Beekeeping for Dummies,” her bible.
Fact 1: The bees are delivered through the U.S. Postal Service in a 3 lb. package in May. By mid-summer, a hive will multiply to 60,000 bees.
Fact 2: A healthy hive will produce 100lbs. of honey per year. To give you an idea of size, one gallon equals eleven lbs.
Fact 3: During the busy season, worker bees (females) will live 6 weeks. But, in the winter, worker bees can live 4-8 months.
Fact 4: Male bees are called drones. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. By the Fall, all drones have been kicked out of the hive.
Thanks so much for meeting with me Dawn. You’re quite a determined soul and one that makes others smile. You’re my kind of gal!