Beehives on rooftops? Local firefighter/beekeeper helps businesses

He puts out fires and helps people during emergencies, but a local firefighter has a side business… as a beekeeper! (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (Angela Ingram) - He puts out fires and helps people during emergencies, but a local firefighter has a side business as a beekeeper!

Queen City Bee Company focuses on education and products produced by honeybees.

The company is branching out and helping other businesses profit, all from beehives.

It's nothing for Carlier Smyth to pull bees out of his pocket. Smyth has roughly 720,000 of them in his backyard.

"All of our beehives are removals from people's homes, so they would've been exterminated otherwise," said Smyth. "We come in, rescue the hive and bring it here, where they can survive and thrive."

Carlier is a Cincinnati Firefighter and Paramedic as a full-time job. He runs his business Queen City Bee Company as a part-time venture.

In addition to removing them from people's homes and selling products produced by the bees, Smyth also educates people on why they're important.

"One third of all foods are dependent on honey bees and other pollinators," said Smyth. "Honeybees are by far the most efficient pollinator."

Now Smyth is helping other local businesses adopt their own hives to produce honey.

"With our 'Own a Hive' and 'Foster a Hive' programs, we're able to put honeybee colonies on the properties whether it be roofs or back lawns," said Smyth.

The firehouse where Carlier works in Walnut Hills is not too far from Woodburn Avenue, so he decided to approach a business that's soon opening about putting beehives on the rooftop.

"Our business is the Woodburn Brewery and we hope to be open sometime in June. We have a 20 barrel brew house," said Chris Mitchell of Woodburn Brewery.

Both Woodburn Brewery and Urban Artifact should have their hives by May.

"We'll put honey in the beer, yes," said Mitchell. "There's lots you can do with honey, but it's also educating the public on the declining bee population."

Over the years, Smyth has learned not to fear bees, but appreciate what they do and he's hoping by branching out, he can teach others the same.

"The coolest part to us is the fact that the lay person will then be able to see bees in action while they're out at these businesses and realize that they're not something to be afraid of," said Smyth.

Smyth uses his company to work with the children as well.

He's taught kids in after-school programs about honeybees and why they're important to the environment.

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