Featured Producer - Karen Pedersen

Meet Karen Pedersen, a fifth generation commercial beekeeper and apiary owner in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan. 

As a member of the Manitoba Cooperative Honey Producers, one of the two Coops that own Bee Maid, Karen and her family run single story hives year-round for honey production. A significant portion of her work is also dedicated to raising queens in mini hives to breed healthy local colonies.

Karen’s favourite aspect of her job is observing the behaviour of her bees. She finds joy in working with small hives that allow her to closely monitor them. She appreciates the versatility and learning opportunities beekeeping offers, as she never knows what she will witness when opening a hive on any given day.

Despite being afraid of bees as a child, Karen overcame her fear and now finds immense joy in beekeeping. She attributes her confidence to her family's beekeeping legacy and emphasizes the importance of finding a local mentor for aspiring beekeepers.

Karen believes beekeeping is a rewarding job and is passionate about passing on her knowledge to others, just as she benefited from learning from her family.










Are there any memories from your career in beekeeping that stand out to you?

To see me now, you wouldn’t think that I was petrified of bees when I was a teenager, but I was.  However, in a family of beekeepers of which I am the 5th generation that we know of, I wasn’t going to admit that I was afraid especially when my brother was working with the bees.

So, I would face my fears and pretend they weren’t there. When I finally started working in the hives rather than just with the honey, my brother told me that the bees like to play chicken and if I pulled back, they would sting me. It turns out I was just a big fake, but I truly do remember how it felt to be afraid. Like so many other things the more I got to know, the less I was afraid.  Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I certainly wouldn't have guessed that I would become the beekeeper rather than my brother.

What is your favourite thing about being a beekeeper?

My favourite thing is the bees!  I love working with the bees particularly in the little hives that we raise queens.  The little hives have all the elements of a big hive, but they are tiny enough that I can watch the bees while checking hundreds of hives in one day.  I never know what I’m going to get to see on any given day.

Why is it important to support local honey producers?

Local honey producers are a part of and support local communities and businesses.  We hire teenagers for their first jobs.  We bring people into the community, who in turn support local businesses. We are a local tourist attraction teaching people about pollinators and honey. Supporting us, supports our communities.

What words of encouragement would you provide for other people looking to get into beekeeping?

Beekeeping is the sweetest job in the world! Find a local mentor first and it will be so much easier to navigate all the information on the internet that covers every climate, but often doesn’t clarify which climate they are talking about. We’ll help you navigate the vocabulary too. I had a real advantage learning from the family of beekeepers that came before me and I’m happy to pass that information along.