Keith Glatzer was a teacher at Seattle’s University Cooperative School when he first became interested in beekeeping 15 years ago. His co-teacher needed a place to keep his bees because of the city allowed only a certain number of colonies on each property.
“And I asked him I could just keep it to one or two colonies, and he kept 20 or so at the time,” he said. “And he just shook his head and said, ‘You’ll see.’ And now I run about 30 colonies, and it’s completely overwhelming.”
Glatzer hosts the honeybee colonies at his home in Edmonds, as well as in Kingston and Maltby.
“They are just amazing animals to watch, to watch individual critters all work together as one unit,” he said. “They do a much better job than people.”
But beekeeping is only part of his job. Glatzner, the owner of Wild Bee Company, mainly removes and relocates stinging insects from people’s homes. He started the pesticide-free business about four years ago, after being a carpenter for more than a decade. His carpentry skills come in handy when he’s removing bees – instead of leaving a big hole in the wall after removing bees, he’s able to fix it up afterward.
Glatzner said his job is “as much a service as educational.” Sometimes he persuades people to leave the bee hives that they called him to remove.
“I think it’s great if I get the chance to talk to somebody and say, ‘Hey, those are bumblebees. They are doing really well there, and they’re kind of out your way, and they’re not aggressive. They’re a great insect, they’re great for the area. Just leave them and they will be gone in October,” he said.
Even if he walks away without a job, he values educating people more than the monetary gain.
“It doesn’t put money in my pocket,” he said, “but I do like talking to people and actually, I feel good when I talk people out of killing them.”