Grown Here at Home: Roanoke beekeeper makes bee-inspired creations

A beekeeper in Roanoke is continually inspired by her hives.
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 7:33 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - If you ever wanted to become a beekeeper, Michelle Rader will tell you right off the bat, “Do it!”

“Don’t be afraid. People think, oh, it’s a lot of work, but so is having a dog, so is having a cat, so is having kids,” she said.

Michelle turned her love for beekeeping into a business – The Salty Bee.

“I was absolutely amazed by everything that they do and all the resources they have for being such tiny creatures, that I couldn’t stand to waste anything. So, I started creating products out of the leftover wax from cappings of honey. I started researching things bees do, and how they’re good for the environment, and it just kind of evolved from there,” Michelle said.

She’s made countless products that include a Neosporin-like anointment made with beeswax and honey, beeswax candles, which Michelle says burn longer and clean the air, and even body butter.

“Beeswax is anti-fungal and antibacterial, so it’s really good for your body; and beeswax as a skin moisturizer is probably the best natural thing you can put on your body,” Michelle explained.

That’s not all The Salty Bee has to offer. Michelle makes bath salts, cookies, lip balm, spicy honey, berry honey, honey lollipops, and the list goes on. All these creations are inspired by what Michelle calls her, “city bees.”

“A lot of people are starting to keep bees in the city, which is great, because in order to save the bees you’ve got to have them everywhere,” she said.

Michelle’s ideas have opened the door for her to partner with other local businesses like Spice Titan.

“He and I are collaborating on some spicy brussels sprouts that are pickled. I’ve also done a collaboration with The Slap Shop. We have bee cups. They’re a little hydration station for your bees. They collect the dew and the rainwater and it’s just enough water for the bees so that they don’t drown, and they’re pretty,” Michelle said.

With all these bee-inspired creations, what will Michelle think of next? I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

You can find The Salty Bee at Green Designs, Three Little Birds Artisan Market and Blue Moon Vintage Mercantile.