Sophia Walck proudly holds up a frame from a hive, showing off the bees and their work.

By Sophia Walck

Sam Goodwin is an Apollo Beach beekeeper who shares his love for saving bees and teaches classes after retiring from the Army as a command sergeant major and defense contractor. Goodwin, with his business, ‘Sam’s Honey Bees,’ started beekeeping around eight and a half years ago after retiring, finally being able to afford to work in a business he had always wanted to be a part of: agriculture.

“My goal is to spread the word on the importance of bees to our food supply and pollination; one third of our food supply depends on bees,” Goodwin said. “We’d have about four to five years left as humans without bees. So, if you like to eat, protect your bees.”

Goodwin spreads his message to those who attend his hands-on beekeeping-experience classes, where he explains to people as young as children the function of bees in our world and how they band together as colonies.

“About six to eight people come out and train with me,” said Goodwin. “Three have been licensed and have their own hives.”

Along the lines of beekeeping, Goodwin also sells local, raw and pure honey to the community, and he takes house calls to remove bees. His daily maintenance of the bees involves inspecting and cleaning the hives, looking for the queen, observing the queen’s progress in the hive laying eggs and assessing whether boxes need to be added or taken from the hives (about three to five times a week).

“You look for normalcy, and if you don’t find normalcy, you fix it,” he said.

With all this said, a lot goes on in Goodwin’s apiary in the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community.

“It’s definitely a challenge to keep them healthy; … beekeeping is both an art and a science. There’s certain parts of it that will always be the same in the book, but there’s a lot of art to it as well. Not everything is covered by the book,” Goodwin said.

About the struggles in the hives, like rough winters and mite infestations, Goodwin said, “Honey is their winter food. As long as they have honey, they won’t starve. They can generate their own heat and air conditioning in their hives, and the heat they create keeps the hive about 90-95 degrees even with a pile of snow on top. Some of my medicine is vapor; it kills the mites. Mites are their biggest enemy.”

Upon arriving at Goodwin’s apiary in Apollo Beach, it’s obvious that he’s passionate about bees. His hive setup and system are meticulous and well-organized with different labeling systems and charts filled with information on each hive. Anyone who’s interested in taking a look and learning more about the fascinating species should visit the ‘Sam’s Honey Bees’ page on Facebook or email Goodwin himself at; his hobby is truly amazing.

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