Those busy bees: Jax allergy sufferers turn to honey for relief

Published on April 17, 2023 at 5:00 pm

The spring pollen season in Northeast Florida can be as significant as anywhere in the country. And like bees to honey, a small store in Murray Hill is attracting lots of customers these days.

Christie Leach owns Bee Friends store with her husband, Michael. As local beekeepers, they take care of — and get honey from — as many as a thousand bee hives.

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The Leaches are what’s known as migratory beekeepers, meaning they load up their bees on trailers and take them to where the flowers are.


Right now, Leach said, people are coming in because they’re saying local honey helps with their allergies. One of those customers, Michelle Davis-Singleton of Jacksonville, said she comes by because it’s a local store and because the honey eases her symptoms when her allergies flare up.

“Yes, it was very troublesome for me last night,” she said. “So I realized I needed to get some more honey because I knew that was gonna help me out and I was at the end of my supply.”

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Bee Friends also sells bees to people who want to get into backyard beekeeping. They just sold 200 nuc frames to bee enthusiasts around Jacksonville.  A nuc — short for nucleus colony — is an established small bee hive (with a queen) so a new beekeeper has a better chance of growing a hive and getting a honey crop.