LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — On June 21, Father’s Day, Jeff Goetzinger and his son Nick went to a church off of the Stotts City exit to extract a massive beehive. The bees coming from the 19th-century church kept stinging the people maintaining the grounds.
While using a thermal imaging device, the Goetzingers found that inside the wall of the church was a hive that went from the ceiling to the floor. After peeling away the layers of the wall, they began using a modified shop-vac to extract the thousands of bees. About one hundred plus pounds of honey and wax came from the wall.
After the 4 hour extraction, the bees and honeycombs were brought to an apiary in Laclede County. Jeff and Nick’s company, Queen City Honey Company, began selling the unique honey that it sold out almost immediately. Half of the honey was purchased by the daughter of the board president of the Union Church. Jerry Batson.
Batson’s wife and several of her family members are buried in the cemetery on the church grounds. The honey serves as a memento for Batson and hopes to pass on to his grandchildren.
“This was a solid hive,” said Batson. “From the floor up to almost a foot within the ceiling. Which is about 11 feet of hive.”
Batson says he bought enough honey made from the church bees for his board members and his family. He says he purchased the honey not just because it tastes good, but also a reminder of his loved ones.
“I probably will put one jar of honey back and just leave it there,” said Batson. “Just for remembrance of the family and what took place down here with the bees. It’s the best honey I have ever tasted. It is smooth. It is sweet. I have never tasted honey like it before in my life. And they have a little bit of a reason behind that because maybe soybeans here nearby gave flavor to the honey.”
Batson hopes that the publicity from the beehive will convince someone to help restore the church, located on the Stott’s City exit on highway 44-West.