Beekeeping is all about health and wellness for the eight-member Parker family of Blacklick.

Beekeeping is all about health and wellness for the eight-member Parker family of Blacklick.

Parents Dr. Michael and Teresa Parker, an obstetrician and nurse, respectively, appreciate the health benefits of honey.

"It's also something we can do together," Teresa Parker said. "All six kids help out, whether they're chasing swarms or extracting honey. Every age is attracted to something."

She said the physiochemical in honey provides antioxidant protection, healing properties and nutritional benefits.

Honey consumed before bedtime, Parker said, helps people sleep because it prevents the release of adrenaline and cortisol during sleep.

"I love to eat the honey and share it with family and friends," she said.

Fourteen-year-old daughter Catherine said they eat the honey "straight up."

"We're like bears," she said.

Catherine said many of her friends think she's crazy with the beekeeping hobby, but others think it's cool.

"If you leave the bees alone, they will leave you alone," she said. "I like seeing them swarm and swarm catches."

The family entered three entries of amber-to-extra-light-amber honey in the Ohio State Fair on July 20.

"We'll work at the bee booth one day in July and August," Teresa Parker said (See related story, A5).

She said one of her favorite quotes by Saint John Chrysostom is that "the bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others."

"I never realized how incredible they were," Parker said.

As a nurse, she said, she has concerns about colony collapse disorder, referring to the disappearance of bees from hives that many link to the use of pesticides.

"People should stop treating their yards with pesticides," she said. "Nowadays, we don't even hear crickets."

In addition to chemicals, bees are at risk for disease and the weather.

Parker said she's grateful her hives survived the cold winter that destroyed 70 percent of Ohio's beehives.

With help from bee pollination, she said, her potted vegetables and flowers have never looked better.

Michael Parker said he most enjoys beekeeping because it's very peaceful.

He originally agreed to two hives, but the family now has six, he said.

"There are eight frames in a box," he said. "I find it interesting."

The family harvested about a gallon of honey in the spring and another gallon recently for part of the fair entries.

"You have to have a passion for it," Teresa Parker said. "You won't make money from it. I want the pollination, honey and enjoyment."