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Our beekeeper and owner, Bud, grew up in the white mountains of northern Arizona. Bud’s first exposure to beekeeping was when he was a young boy--his father had a few hives that he maintained for their family as a hobby. After serving a church mission in the Pacific Northwest as a young adult, Bud returned to Arizona and married his sweetheart, Melanie. A subsequent 24 years of marriage have followed with a few years living in Spokane WA where they ran several successful businesses together. Bud has always loved gardening and often undertakes large-scale gardening projects! While living in Spokane, Bud and Melanie rented a couple of hives to pollinate their large watermelon patch one summer. Because of this, Bud was introduced to some commercial beekeepers and became even more fascinated with beekeeping and pollination. He did a lot of studying and learning on his own about pollination and beekeeping.

In 2010, Bud and Melanie decided to purchase 50 packages of bees and attempt their first independent beekeeping venture. They slowly grew those hives and in 2012, moved their family over to the Royal Slope. Bud has always had an interest in agriculture, and this move to the Royal Slope had him begin a job as an orchard manager in cherry and apple orchards which only increased his appreciation for pollination and the important role bees play.

They began their time on the Royal Slope with 120 hives. With only one small flatbed truck and skidsteer to move the hives, Bud and Melanie (along with the help of their kids), did all of the work on their own. That first year they moved to the Royal Slope, they did some pollination on canola fields, and each year continued to build the business—splitting and building the hives, growing pollination contracts and honey yards.

Bud and Melanie officially started their apiary in 2013 and purchased 400 more hives. As the business grew, they began to hire additional help in order to run the growing operation. They have built up a great team and some of their employees have been with them for over 7 years! In 2018, Bud stopped managing orchards and switched over to running their apiary full-time.

They now have over 7,000 hives and running the apiary is still a family affair. Bud oversees all of the operations, Melanie helps with bookkeeping and a slew of other management tasks, and their daughters all help with extracting and bottling honey. Extended family members are also now involved in helping with the business, and some of their employees have been a part of the team for so long, they feel like family. Now the Wilhelm family can’t imagine doing anything else, besides building a beautiful beekeeping legacy.

owners of the Royal Honey Company


Bud & Melanie Wilhelm

bees crawling over their honey and honeycomb
bottling Royal Honey
pouring out honey into a barrell
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