New Mexico resident Kenneth Hays may be the bravest beekeeper in the state.

Hays was born with an allergy to bee venom, but after he was given a beehive from a friend, he picked up beekeeping as a hobby full-time.

After Hays retired, he decided to turn his hobby into a business and has been running his own beekeeping and apple orchard business in New Mexico since 1970.

This has been one of the best years for Hays’ bee farm — so far, his bees have produced over 500 pounds of several different types of honey. Hays said “the right amount of rain at the right time” seperates a good year from a bad year.

The Hays Honey farm has over six different types of honey, including honeys made from white clover, alfalfa wildflower and more.

A large reason why beekeeping has been around for centuries (as far back as the Egyptian and Greek civilizations) is because of the purported health benefits honey provides. Honey is rich in antioxidants, improves cholesterol, and is good for heart health.

One thing Hays recommends you look out for when buying honey is “raw” and “unfiltered.” Cooking and filtering honey can actually remove some of these benefits, or lower their effectiveness.

Adam Clemena is a freelance photojournalist at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @DailyLobo