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The Bee Whisperer

Apr 3, 2015

by Danielle Tsi

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

In celebration of Earth Month — because at Etsy, a single day isn’t nearly enough to express our appreciation for nature — we’re bringing back this fascinating look at the daily life a California beekeeper, originally published in March 2012. 

If you’re an avid gardener, chances are you’re already familiar with the benefits that bees bring to your flowers and vegetable patch. For the rest of us, beekeepers like Mark Paterson exist to induct us into their magical universe.

In addition to managing 17 hives around the South Bay Area for a range of private customers, Mark is the apiary manager at Full Circle Farm, vice-president of Santa Clara County’s beekeepers’ guild, and the owner of Honey Of Distinction, where he sells the honey his hives produce — 2,000 pounds in 2011. And then there are his other hobbies, like medieval role-play, home-brewing, raising chickens, and, as of February 2012, raising pigs on their 2.5-acre plot in Campbell.

Danielle Tsi

All kitted up and ready to check-in on the bees.

For the Santa Clara Beekeepers’ Guild, Mark serves on the monthly “Dr. Bee” panel, fielding questions about various aspects of beekeeping. He also conducts classes at Full Circle Farm in the spring and summer, educating the farm’s volunteers and members about what bees do, their importance for maintaining healthy garden eco-systems and consequently, for our food supply. It’s easy to see why Mark’s wife calls him “The Bee Whisperer.”

Danielle Tsi

Mark’s backyard orchard and hives.

“I think my interest in beekeeping sprung out of my love of gardening,” Mark explains.  “Flowers need bees to be pollinated and I love honey, so beekeeping was a natural step for me. I just love bees. I could sit all day just looking at them going in and out of their hives; I find it calming.“

Danielle Tsi

Some of the seven hives he keeps in his backyard.

On a recent visit, Mark gave me a quick look into the world of bees and beekeeping in North America. The average American consumes about a third of a pound of honey a year, and there are currently 330 different varieties of American honey, dependent on the type of flowers that bees feed on. While there are over 1,500 varieties of native bees in North America, the European honey bee is commonly used in commercial beekeeping and honey operations today.

Danielle Tsi

The sign of a healthy hive.

“European bees are good pollinators, and unlike American varieties, which are solitary, they don’t die in the winter,” Mark said.

While it may seem that more and more people are taking up beekeeping these days, only a small handful – about 2,000, Mark estimates – actually make a living from beekeeping by providing pollinating services to farms and orchards.

Danielle Tsi

Mark showing an example of a panel infested with the varroa mite with his teaching hive.

According to Mark, “Keeping bees just to make honey is very labor-intensive for a relatively low-yield product. You’ve got to care for the hive, take care of pests and ensure that your bees are healthy, then there’s the work involved in harvesting and bottling the honey for market.”

He continued, “Most commercial beekeepers live a nomadic lifestyle, and the main event for them is the pollination of California’s almond crop. For three weeks in February, commercial beekeepers from California, Maine, Florida and North Dakota bring their hives to California’s Central Valley for the annual pollination of the almond crop. Eighty percent of the world’s almonds are produced in California, so it’s the largest, most coordinated commercial beekeeping event in the world.”

Danielle Tsi

Honey-making in progress.

While profitable, it’s not a lifestyle Mark’s interested in, preferring instead to share his knowledge with his community while still balancing other aspects of his life, like family and his technology career. His consulting beekeeping services seem to provide the right fit, and with 17 hives under his belt, he’s looking to grow the business to 30 hives this year. Current private customers tend to be avid gardeners who recognize the importance of bees for their backyard, but who may not have the time for actively managing a hive.

Danielle Tsi

Bees on a metal frame designed to prevent the queen bee from escaping.

“My goal is to find a way for bees and humans to happily co-exist, and to minimize the impacts of one on the other,” Mark shared. “When setting up a hive, I look at the best spot for the bees that would also allow my clients to observe them without getting uncomfortably close.”

Considering my irrational fear of getting a bee sting as a kid, I was surprisingly calm as Mark opened his hives for me to photograph. He was right; there is something relaxing about watching bees going about their work, and comforting too, knowing that their existence contributes to the health of our planet and the food system. With the onset of Colony Collapse Disorder in the past few years and the challenge of keeping hives healthy in farming environments laden with pesticides and chemicals, private beekeeping services like Mark’s will be even more important, helping to slow the problem of disappearing hives. Only time will tell.

Do you keep, or want to keep, bees?

4 Featured Comments

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 5 years ago Featured

    I found out how utterly essential bees are to a garden last growing season. My apartment garden (on a second floor balcony) grew lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans and zucchini two years ago, but last year there was not a single edible turnout from the garden. Between those two seasons a bee hive on the balcony above us was removed and sprayed so the bees wouldn't cause a problem... well, it certainly caused a problem for my garden! No bees, no veggies, hungry me on my way to a grocery store. Hopefully this year will be better.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago Featured

    Bees are no doubt, the most fascinating little creatures I think I have ever come across. The communication that goes on between bees and their very systematic, efficient, labor operation is mind-blowing! We would love to keep a hive, but we're glad to be informed of it's laborious nature. Now we'll be able to better consider. Another excellent post!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 5 years ago Featured

    My father-in-law kept bees & I still miss his honey, wax & the polish that he used to make for me. They're crucial to the human food chain, we literally wouldn't survive without them pollinating food crops. I never knew beekeepers moved their hives to the food source in the US & found that fascinating, it's not something that needs doing here in the UK.

  • sisauvage

    Susanne from sisauvage said 5 years ago Featured

    Awesome to feature a beekeeper! I am post-doctoral scientist working working with bees (I mainly study honeybee reproduction) and I have seen the hard work that beekeepers put into getting the honey. Unfortunately they get hugely underpaid, and their income greatly depends on the weather. A bad season means less plants to pollinate, less nectar collected by the bees, therefore less honey and less income. Add the growing prevalence of bee diseases to the mix and you can understand that life as a beekeeper can be hard. So please support your local beekeepers and buy their products at your local farmers markets! :)

208 comments

  • bellabijoujewellery

    Jaime from BellaBijouJewellery said 5 years ago

    I've always wondered what honey straight from the hive tastes like. Very cool article.

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    Great post! Love honey =)

  • kh1467

    Kelly from KikuPaper said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article. Too much honey is imported from China! - Support beekeepers in your community - buy local!

  • AlternativeBlooms

    Alternative Blooms from AlternativeBlooms said 5 years ago

    I have a cousin who keeps Bee's it can be tricker then it looks but She loves it! The hive is just as cool as the honey - God's works of art <3 Thanks for the post!! -Aim

  • funktionslust

    Mara from FunktionLust said 5 years ago

    I'm deathly allergic to bees....but I still love them and everything they do! =)

  • savannahcat

    Lisa Jeffrey from savannahcat said 5 years ago

    Awesome story!!! Love the bees!!!

  • MyHomemadeHome

    Susannah from HandmadeBySusannah said 5 years ago

    a reminderof the hard work that goes into delivering our little luxuries of life!

  • MyHomemadeHome

    Susannah from HandmadeBySusannah said 5 years ago

    good things require hard work!

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 5 years ago

    mmm yeah I'm glad someone out there likes bees - personally I'm a little scared of bugs of all types...just a little but,- I love raw honeys of the less common varieties- and bees are really important for agriculture. Although I have no desire to be a beekeeper myself - I'm super grateful they do what they do :3

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 5 years ago Featured

    I found out how utterly essential bees are to a garden last growing season. My apartment garden (on a second floor balcony) grew lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans and zucchini two years ago, but last year there was not a single edible turnout from the garden. Between those two seasons a bee hive on the balcony above us was removed and sprayed so the bees wouldn't cause a problem... well, it certainly caused a problem for my garden! No bees, no veggies, hungry me on my way to a grocery store. Hopefully this year will be better.

  • beliz82

    Beliz from beliz82 said 5 years ago

    Great Article Thank you for sharing !!

  • TheIDconnection

    TheIDConnection from TheIDconnection said 5 years ago

    I'm looking forward to the bees returning!

  • eversolovely

    Ever So Lovely from EverSoLovely said 5 years ago

    This is such a great article on why bees are so important to us! Thanks for sharing and spreading the word about these little guys and the people that work with them! :)

  • magicandmoss

    Sarah Pogue from magicandmoss said 5 years ago

    I actually just recieved some Vermont honey in the mail today from my friends who have a bee-keeping side business. Yum!

  • ljersey

    Lisa Jersey from JerseyGirlTrinkets said 5 years ago

    This such a cool story! Thanks for sharing! :) Love the pictures too!

  • NobleTextiles

    NobleTextiles from NobleTextiles said 5 years ago

    Great article! Bees are so important in so many ways!

  • CassiopiasCreations

    Lisa from CassiopiasCreations said 5 years ago

    Mark is a talented & brave person! I appreciate the article and other bee keepers as I'm a bit of a chicken around them. Homemade honey is the best if you can buy some locally! Thanks for sharing your wisdom & helping us understand how intricate bee's work actually is.

  • klb00e

    Mother Lark from MotherLark said 5 years ago

    wonderful article.

  • KeelyFinnegan

    Keely Finnegan from KeelyFinnegan said 5 years ago

    This is a wonderful article! Thank you so much for posting about the importance of beekeeping. I watched the documentary, "Vanishing of the Bees" which is about Colony Collapse Disorder, and it broke my heart! Small-scale beekeepers will help the honeybees survival for sure. As soon as I have a yard of my own, I will be keeping some bees (and chickens, too!). Cheers to Mark for helping people learn about bees. Reading books on them is great, but hands-on experience is even better.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections from KettleConfections said 5 years ago

    I'm so glad I can find really good raw honey from farmers here on etsy - haven't purchased honey from the supermarket in several years. The taste is superb, if we've all tried local honey, honey consumption would go up. Much of the honey these days in places like rite aid, and other chains have corn syrup.

  • mwhitedcr

    mwhitedcr said 5 years ago

    Great story and pictures. Captured so many aspects of bee-keeping - current challenges, its essential role in our food supply chain, and how rewarding it is for beekeepers themselves. I have such fond memories of my father (now 96) "tending his bees" for many, many years, as his father had done on their farm. Danielle, you captured well Mark's joy doing this work and teaching others. Thanks.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    I love honey I put it in everything! I love unusual honey its amazing how more flavorful it is compared to sugar.

  • SwirlwindDesigns

    Alyssa G. from SwirlwindDesigns said 5 years ago

    Love this article! I've always been a big fan of honey bees. My dad has kept bees on and off since I was a little girl. They're fantastic creatures. :)

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing pictures and all that knowledge about bees.

  • BridalSashesOnly

    Kathy Johnson from BridalSashesOnly said 5 years ago

    My dad used to be a bee keeper, nothing better than the honeycomb and the honey they produce!

  • amusebeads

    amusebeads from amusebeads said 5 years ago

    I've always wanted to keep bees, but it is less likely in an urban environment. With the natural ways of the bees and the lack of understanding from close neighbors, bee hives (and people) would be a threat to each other. Maybe someday there will be a more in depth understanding of bees and their importance by the general population, and bees will be welcomed anywhere.

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush said 5 years ago

    Mmmmmm, honey..

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 5 years ago

    It's a great story but not for me. I'll stick with what I'm doing.

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 5 years ago

    Great Story!

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago Featured

    Bees are no doubt, the most fascinating little creatures I think I have ever come across. The communication that goes on between bees and their very systematic, efficient, labor operation is mind-blowing! We would love to keep a hive, but we're glad to be informed of it's laborious nature. Now we'll be able to better consider. Another excellent post!

  • amtonyan

    Anne-Marie Lindsey from amtonyan said 5 years ago

    My local health food coop keeps bees in a clear case near the herbs. It's the coolest thing to watch them climb around the comb! I'm sure it gets changed out often--it's a promotion for local honey. Mesmerizing.

  • amtonyan

    Anne-Marie Lindsey from amtonyan said 5 years ago

    PS The bees aren't flying around the store. They are trapped inside the glass case, which is why I'm sure they get switched out often.

  • cabh24

    cabh24 from Whatispastisprologue said 5 years ago

    Great thing to do for the bees, the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that depend on them. Wish I could do it. My husband looked into it as a project for him and the kids but I am allergic. I admire them from afar.

  • GoddessOfJewelry

    GoddessOfJewelry from GoddessOfJewelry said 5 years ago

    This is a great story full of insight. I'd love to be able to visit a small scale beehive operation to see how the bees live and how the beekeepers manage their operation. We love honey in our home... taking a more holistic approach to our life we understand that consuming LOCAL honey (which has LOCAL pollen) will actually help to minimize (and in some cases, eradicate) pollen-related allergies (hay fever, anyone?). Not only does this save your body the chemical burden of antihistamine drugs, but it saves your wallet of the great cost of these allergy pills! I <3 honey...especially raw unfiltered honey.

  • Nikifashion

    Natalia from Nikifashion said 5 years ago

    I love orange blossom honey. Great story!

  • frombeths

    Beth Morgan from FromBeths said 5 years ago

    OMG how cool was that! I am a little afraid of them cause I had a swarm attack me when I was youger.. they actually chased me around..BUT I do love honey and I find them to be fascinating... amazing.. very cool stuff.

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv said 5 years ago

    How interesting! I never knew anyone temporarily transported their hives. I personally get frustrated with bees in the summer; as they buzz around my little ones, whose fingers are often sticky with fruit juice. I cannot imagine actually keeping a hive on our property! But, I am sure thankful for those who do, we LOVE honey in our house. We probably use it the most when we make granola. Thanks for the interesting article!

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts said 5 years ago

    Sweet. I love bees

  • miriamryburne

    Miriam from Handmadewithloveee said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article!

  • amysfunkyfibers

    Amy Gunderson from amysfunkyfibers said 5 years ago

    My neighbor drives his bees from Indiana to California to help with the almond crops. Bees are amazing!

  • lavendergardencottag

    lavendergardencottag from LavenderGardenCottag said 5 years ago

    I wish I could keep bees!

  • bellasparty

    bellasparty from bellasparty said 5 years ago

    Great article!

  • LiberalSmarts

    Megan from MondayCreek said 5 years ago

    I would love to keep bees, but my municipality does not allow it. :-(

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 5 years ago

    Very timely article. Some people who live inside cities would like local bee hive rules loosened to pave the way for more urban bee-keeping. Here's an article on one effort in Oregon: http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120326/NEWS02/203260305&cid=sitesearch

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 5 years ago Featured

    My father-in-law kept bees & I still miss his honey, wax & the polish that he used to make for me. They're crucial to the human food chain, we literally wouldn't survive without them pollinating food crops. I never knew beekeepers moved their hives to the food source in the US & found that fascinating, it's not something that needs doing here in the UK.

  • JeanRameyArt

    Jean Ramey from JeanRameyArt said 5 years ago

    What a great article!

  • bstudio

    Bren from bstudio said 5 years ago

    We have bees that live in the hollow of a tree on our property. As the weather warmed up last week I saw the first bees of the season and was glad of their return. There's nothing better than buying locally produced honey!

  • brainfart

    brainfart from brainfart said 5 years ago

    Thank you for this blog ! My family and I have a large tree in our front yard where there has been a natural bee hive for the las 3 years . I noticed that they are dorment in the winter we had some sunny days here in Sacramento. I observed some flying around . This blog is very helpful because I have wanted to get in touch with a bee keeper !!! Thank you !

  • AThymetoSew

    Arlene from AThymetoSew said 5 years ago

    My daughter is a bee keeper! Love this article!!

  • funnydays

    funnydays from funnydays said 5 years ago

    Great Story!

  • beeXpression

    beeXpression from beeXpression said 5 years ago

    I love bees and their keepers. Thank you for all you do!

  • Coral75

    Coral Welton from GoldTentacle said 5 years ago

    I have been teaching my daughter about bees when we see them around the yard so she understands how important they are to plants and life in general as all living things are. Thanks for this article!

  • RenataandJonathan

    Renata and Jonathan from RenataandJonathan said 5 years ago

    Interesting story !

  • PoetryofObjects

    PoetryofObjects from PoetryofObjects said 5 years ago

    Lovely Bees....

  • ball6474

    Lindley Ballen from PersnicketyPuffin said 5 years ago

    I love bees! They are one of my three favorite animals. Despite my love for bees I am allergic to their sting. Someday I would, however, like to keep bees (or host a hive on my property) because I know how important bees are.

  • bunnygarden

    molly from bunnygarden said 5 years ago

    If you can't have a honey bee hive but love bees, look into getting a mason bee house. They pollinate plants, but are solitary and don't make honey. They are less likely to sting because of this. They are so darn cute! I have one on my porch and they pollinate my urban porch garden.

  • misseffie

    misseffie from misseffie said 5 years ago

    We are just getting bees this weekend. Timely article for us. Thank you!

  • ThePattypanShop

    ThePattypanShop from ThePattypanShop said 5 years ago

    Amazing story! Keep up the good work!!

  • BlueMoonLights

    Alexandra Simons from BlueMoonLights said 5 years ago

    Great article! I love bees and always let my arugula plants flower because the mountain bees feed on them (so do the humming bird moths), I love watching them, it's so peaceful & relaxing. Thanks for this post!

  • GrowingPhasesFarm

    Debbie from GrowingPhasesFarm said 5 years ago

    Yes ... I will be a Beekeeper soon! The bees arrive beginning of May and I am very excited! Great interview ... thank you!

  • Vitrine

    Vitrine from Vitrine said 5 years ago

    I love honey and have thought about one day having my own beehives. The next time I have California almonds I'll remember the coordinated effort that got those into my bowl. what a great story!

  • elleestpetite

    Donna Thai from PetiteCuisine said 5 years ago

    I'm thinking I would like to become a beekeeper in the future, maybe after becoming a homeowner with a large back yard.

  • auntsuesoldnewlovely

    auntsuesoldnewlovely from AuntSuesVintage said 5 years ago

    This is swell! My dad kept bees and my job was working the hand extractor. Now my 18 yr old son wants to keep bees. We have a friend that has 200 hives and he has built disease resistant bees and uses no antibiotics.

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd said 5 years ago

    So much to know about bees. Fascinating and thankful for HONEY!

  • thehappyjewel

    Ricci Worth Wheatley from thehappyjewel said 5 years ago

    the irony...I was googling bee sting treatment as my daughter just got stung. Stopped to check my Etsy (great mom huh) anyway, I truly believe bees are attracted to some people. this is her 13th bee sting! I won't tell her about your love for bees....:)

  • sisauvage

    Susanne from sisauvage said 5 years ago Featured

    Awesome to feature a beekeeper! I am post-doctoral scientist working working with bees (I mainly study honeybee reproduction) and I have seen the hard work that beekeepers put into getting the honey. Unfortunately they get hugely underpaid, and their income greatly depends on the weather. A bad season means less plants to pollinate, less nectar collected by the bees, therefore less honey and less income. Add the growing prevalence of bee diseases to the mix and you can understand that life as a beekeeper can be hard. So please support your local beekeepers and buy their products at your local farmers markets! :)

  • ee333

    Erika Warren from Grotto333 said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing, love this article... Bee's are such master lil mechanics.. <3 :)

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm from baconsquarefarm said 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this article with all of us, our neighbors have bees, in the fall they bring them to Texas to spend the winter as Minnesota winters are harsh they return end of April.

  • SubaqueousPress

    Michelle Cornelison from SubaqueousPress said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the post! I was lucky enough to live on a farm with bees last summer and had the chance to get my hands into some hives...but I kept my gloves on! :) I still have some honey left....there is nothing like it, even the store-bought organic raw honey doesn't compare. And an important note to mention, all those bees you see are the LADIES! (the males don't do any of the work, haha) Those are some hard-working girls. Great photos, by the way!

  • MileEndSoapandCandle

    Sheryl Shore from MileEndSoapandCandle said 5 years ago

    There are some great urban community apiaries around. Check out kickstarter and support these sweet initiatives. Like Brooklyn Grange Apiary project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1909670623/brooklyn-grange-apiary-project?ref=live And we can thank them bees for their sweetest and cleanest burning WAX.

  • BeeGracious

    Darrell and Frankie from BeeGracious said 5 years ago

    Sharing the love of beekeeping ~ Bee Gracious Apiary ~ Yadkin Valley, NC USA

  • empower

    empower from empower said 5 years ago

    Someday I will have an apiary! More for the ecosystem services than anything, but also for beautiful honey! Thanks for the post!

  • LateTomato

    Jennifer Bennett from LateTomato said 5 years ago

    So fascinating! I have become obsessed with beekeeping lately! Last week I met with a retired beekeeper who was selling his equipment in the newspaper. He was so interesting and talking with him really made me excited to try it! It sounds like such a rewarding thing to do! Hopefully next summer!

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 5 years ago

    I have a love-hate relationship with honeybees-but mostly love! Hats off to the hard-working beekeeper. It's not an easy job.

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 5 years ago

    I so appreciate beekeepers. I love honey. Love honey soap,etc. I wouldn't want to do it myself.

  • IlluminatedPerfume

    Roxana from IlluminatedPerfume said 5 years ago

    I'm a bee'k! I have two thriving hives and well be harvesting honey next week!!

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop said 5 years ago

    Bees are so cute! I want to keep them!

  • MoePhimthasak

    Malinda Phimthasak said 5 years ago

    I use to be so scared of Bees, but not so much anymore. They're cute.

  • emilyerose

    Emily Rose said 5 years ago

    I am absolutely fascinated by bee keeping. I am afraid of bees, but not so much as I used to be. Maybe someday... www.ayearinthanks.blogspot.com

  • ezliving

    ezliving from ezliving said 5 years ago

    Bees great ! Thank for sharing!!

  • Chennapenna

    Jenny Nelson from Chennapenna said 5 years ago

    Lovely article. My husband remembers his father keeping bees when he was young. It's one thing (among many) we wish we could do, but can't at the moment. Bees are fascinating!

  • mcmfemme

    Naomi said 5 years ago

    Really fascinating, great interview and article - thank you!

  • LCooperDesigns

    LC Cooper from LeMaisonBelle said 5 years ago

    I watched a show a couple of years ago about the devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder - I'm glad to see people like Mark making a difference! Thanks for sharing this story!

  • chrissmith41

    CHRIS SMITH from chrissmith41 said 5 years ago

    nice to see fellow beekeeper nidderdale yorkshire england

  • chrissmith41

    CHRIS SMITH from chrissmith41 said 5 years ago

    good to see fellow beekeeper nidderdale yorkshire england

  • shuqi

    Emily Lim from shuqi said 5 years ago

    i love honey so much but the bee quite creepy. The article is interesting. love it, Thanks for sharing:)

  • lindseymanns

    Lindsey Manns from Littlelinsy said 5 years ago

    A very interesting read.

  • bylauragraves

    laura graves from bylauragraves said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article!

  • hm3o5

    Shannen Luchs from hm3o5 said 5 years ago

    I love honey bees! This is a great article :)

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX said 5 years ago

    ah, how i love honey! <3

  • btaylorquilts

    Briana Taylor from btaylorquilts said 5 years ago

    Great article! We are getting bees on Tuesday this coming week. So excited :)

  • ThreeChicksVIntage

    Mrs Berry from ThreeChicksVIntage said 5 years ago

    Wow! I didn't know all those beekeepers descended upon California to assist the almond crop. Only 1/3 pound a year? I put that much in my Earl Grey in a month! I love raw honey, it just makes me feel good!

  • messinabella

    messinabella from BandBEstate said 5 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods said 5 years ago

    Growing up in the fruit farming area of Pennsylvania, we lived next door to a bee keeper. Since Dad grew vegetables and Mom grew flowers it was a perfect match. My name even means "honey bee"! Thanks for the article.

  • ChrissiesRibbons

    Kevie from LittleFridayDesigns said 5 years ago

    Absolutely amazing...

  • HereandThereShop

    HereandThereShop from HereandThereShop said 5 years ago

    Great article....

  • Zaheroux

    Megan Weber from Zaheroux said 5 years ago

    Such great creatures! What a fantastic article, thank you for posting!

  • DGEnterprises

    Therese Magnani from DGEnterprises said 5 years ago

    My dad raised bees for a while. I still have some honey from his hives. I recently drove through the central valley of CA, past acres of almond orchards, and felt awful whenever I saw a bee collide with my car's windshield.

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations said 5 years ago

    It recently became legal in NYC to keep bees, so many more people are now interested in this here (not that legality was stopping many people from doing it before!), and some are keeping their hives on apartment building roofs. Just goes to show that it can be done anywhere!

  • AlpineGypsy

    Heidi from AlpineGypsy said 5 years ago

    I Heart Bees! Thank goodness for folks like this man. ♥Heidi♥

  • robinmux

    Robin Mullineaux from robinmux said 5 years ago

    My friend Amy is just starting a bee hive and is very excited about her adventure. Maybe I will share this article with her :) Thank you.

  • caseysharpe

    Casey Sharpe from caseysharpe said 5 years ago

    I've fantasized about having a hive for years. Except that I live in an apartment complex in a city, so that's not happening. (YET, I tell myself.) Additionally, I just made a new friend who brews mead, which is made from honey, adding to the fascination.

  • tamaraky

    tamaraky from tamaraky said 5 years ago

    Very interesting! Thanks!

  • TheInspiredTrader

    Deb from TheInspiredTrader said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article it was the bee's knee's!

  • superdraven

    superdraven from superdraven said 5 years ago

    Love the article! My grandfather was a bee-keeper here in Ontario, and we used to help with the honey and making candles as kids. Such a neat hobby, and essential to our environment. The smell of bees wax still evokes such memories of him and the farm:)

  • lirsudi

    lirsudi from lirsudi said 5 years ago

    Great read! The reality is that there are those fighting for our needs through bees. Did you know there is an American Beekeepers Federation? And there beekeeping societies broken down by state and city. There may be a beekeeping club in your area and are always welcoming to visitors. The decline in the bee population is a very real threat and awareness is key. And before you knock imported honey: did you know that beekeeping is taught in 3rd world countries as a way to stimulate the economy, improve agriculture, and provide another food source? Although local honey is good for your allergies, so it's beneficial to buy both ways. (I am the proud niece of a 3rd generation beekeeper who is also active in a world-wide effort to save the honey bee)

  • Micrathena

    Micrathena said 5 years ago

    I love bees and became thrilled when some European Honey Bees decided to make a home in my backyard. They made a hive in some piled up cabinet drawers. I let them stay figuring they have enough of a hard time with the colony collapse and all the other illnesses or pests that can get to them. I can't collect the honey due to them being in old drawers, but I let them keep it for themselves and am happy nonetheless. I found a local beekeeping club in my area and all that the man there told me were doom and gloom 'what if' stories. "What if they become Africanized, they must be Africanized if they are nesting on the ground, what if they sting someone, go after your toddler child?" I was very disappointed. The bees and my family have lived in harmony for three years so far and they seem healthy. My neighborhood plants do really benefit from them and my neighbors are happy they moved into my backyard as well.

  • michaelhutton1

    Michael Hutton from CTheWritingOnTheWall said 5 years ago

    All of us at CTheWritingOnTheWall here on etsy so totally enjoyed your information about the bees and beekeeping. We have a garden every year and last time we seldom saw a bee. We really are hoping they make a comeback.Thank you so much for sharing this with others.

  • stepbackink

    Sam from stepbackink said 5 years ago

    all I can say is this: Bees hold the cure to so much that we donot know anything about..a burn victim was shattered when her face was half burnt with hot liquid. Honey was used to cover the area for few days and to our most surprise her face healed despite what the doctors said that she will be scared..her face is smooth and wonderful like nothing has happened .. I donot recomend the above treatment..but the honey these little things produce is a majical healing liquid ..so much to know ..but we have to save those bees before it is too late !!

  • michaelhutton1

    Michael Hutton from CTheWritingOnTheWall said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a very interesting article.

  • EggMoneyQuilts

    Vivian from EggMoneyQuilts said 5 years ago

    Growing up on a farm I knew how important bees were. Thanks for the very interesting article. Enjoyed it!

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage said 5 years ago

    I recently heard in addition to honey, royal jelly, bee venom can treat arthritis...another amazing creature! Great post.

  • Miliora

    Naté D from Miliora said 5 years ago

    very cool!

  • Miliora

    Naté D from Miliora said 5 years ago

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/95114540/sleeping-bumble-bee-pendant-necklace I <3 Bees

  • jennyhoople

    Jenny Hoople from AuthenticStone said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the article! Another good resource for bee thought is the independent film, Queen of the Sun http://www.queenofthesun.com/ Lots of good discussion of colony collapse disorder and bee passions. The sort of documentary that makes you feel like you're watching fiction instead of non-fiction!

  • Whisperings13

    tracey jean from MagpiesandMimsy said 5 years ago

    i have been deathly allergic of bees since i was three years old. that being said- bees are such an important part of our ecosystem and survival, i am very pleased to see this article! an excellent source to intrigue people into wondering of the life of bees. We have about 64 hives within 7 miles of our farm (6 of them being at the north end of our 60 acres!) so i have learned to watch and appreciate them (and get over my phobia!) The hives are maintained by a group of guys that takes them from NY to PA to Maine to pollenate the blueberries! (love that!) and we look forward to their return every spring. my apple trees have never born more fruit! I commend beekeepers. they are quietly, peacefully- aiding in maintaining the balance of the planet. Kuddos!

  • SweetBeeHoney

    Myla from SweetBeeHoney said 5 years ago

    Wonderful information! I also got into beekeeping because of it's connection to plants and gardening and it's been an amazing adventure. If it's something you've thought about - you should give it a try!

  • wallwhisperer

    Lorinda from wallwhispers said 5 years ago

    Happy to see beekeeping awareness! We couldn't live without them flitting about providing us their service!

  • grandpacharlieswkshp

    Chuck Harpham from grandpacharlieswkshp said 5 years ago

    Bees are fascinating and so are the people who keep them.

  • BeMyBee

    Marcia Terry from BeMyBee said 5 years ago

    Great story, I love bees!

  • mrsmasha

    Mrs Masha from thehareapparent said 5 years ago

    Thank you for posting this, it is highly interesting and so good to read about people who care about animals (insects are animals too). Bees are such an important part of any ecosystem unless it's completely underwater, as well as amazing creatures with real fur and complex social interactions. Plus, I love honey.

  • misponko

    Liudmila Rosario Ponko from PonkoWorld said 5 years ago

    beeees thank you!! great story!

  • CADIjewelry

    Maya and Eliad from CADIjewelry said 5 years ago

    this is a beautiful storel!! we to are inspired by the bees you can't imagen!! Even my name is Maya (like the bee) we have a holle collection of jewelry based on the hive as our concept for fascinating structure . thank you for adding us to the releven items.

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from JKWaltonCollages said 5 years ago

    What an interesting article. I was happy to hear recently that scientists have found that mass bee deaths are linked to the use of nicotine-based pesticides used by farmers. Hopefully they will be banned soon and the bees will be given the chance to recover their numbers. In the meantime, I will be planting lots of insect friendly flowers in my garden to help them along.

  • jameshiser

    james hiser said 5 years ago

    If you ever come to Ohio, there are many interesting events that are Bee and honey related. Every May, Queen Right Colonies in Spencer, Ohio holds a field day. If you want to go out in the field, you will need to provide your own protective clothing. In August, Steinke's Bee World in Wapakineta holds free tours of their

  • jameshiser

    james hiser said 5 years ago

    Sorry, wrong button. As I was saying Steinke's Bee world in Wapakoneta holds free tours of their processing facility in August. Please call or email them to set a time to see their operation.

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 5 years ago

    ♥♥♥ raw honey.

  • restorationharbor

    Laura and Blakeley Harbor from RestorationHarbor said 5 years ago

    Love this!! Growing up on a farm, my 5 siblings and I always helped my mom and dad "spin" the honey out with a big barrel after he retrieved the panels- we loved it! My dad never complained once about the stings, he got them even though he went out there looking like an astronaut :) Good times!

  • CandidaEtc

    candida pagan from CandidaEtc said 5 years ago

    One of the first things I try to find locally produced when I am in a new area is honey! Eating local honey is said to reduce allergies, AND I love being able to speak face to face with someone who works with those little guys to produce something I LOVE SO MUCH! Thank you Bee Keepers!

  • DELdreamart

    Doris Lloyd from DELdreamart said 5 years ago

    This is a Great article , I watch a documentary on bees that spoke of how extremely critical they are for the food chain. Bees pollinate a large percentage of the food we eat.

  • Nicker456

    Matthew and Nicole Kline from KlineHoneyBeeFarm said 5 years ago

    Wonderful I love sees things about bees!

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    Wow! I learned so much about beekeepers in this article! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  • Jemartglass

    Judy Messner from JudysPantry said 5 years ago

    Awesome article! I love honey and the honey bee is the only bee that I like. I always buy my honey from a man at our local farmers market.

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 5 years ago

    I was once a candle maker/seller and my all time favorite was always the pure beeswax candles. I also sold beeswax sheets that you could roll up with a wick to make your own candle. Great memories.

  • kcminicooper

    kcminicooper said 5 years ago

    Alarming news just published about the dying off of our bee populations. Please read: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/29/10921493-neonicotinoid-pesticides-tied-to-crashing-bee-populations-2-studies-find excerpt: "The scientists behind the studies in Europe called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid insecticides." and:"Honey bee populations have been crashing around the world in recent years, and pesticides have been suspected, along with other potential factors such as parasites, disease and habitat loss, in what's known as Colony Collapse Disorder. In the U.S., some beekeepers in 2006 began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

  • sandstormcreations

    sandstormcreations from sandstormcreations said 5 years ago

    Great article. Some very interesting facts on bees and honey.

  • paisleybeading

    LuAnn Poli from PaisleyBeading said 5 years ago

    I remember reading a book about bees when I when I was about 8 years old. Ever since then I've been fascinated. I love to drink my tea with honey. To be more accurate, I have some tea with my honey! Delicious! Wonderful article. So interesting.

  • BeachHouseLiving

    BeachHouseLiving from BeachHouseLiving said 5 years ago

    The Colony Collapse Disorder has a great effect on farmers. It's not uncommon to call in a traveling bee service now where 15-20 years ago there wasn't a need for it.

  • SallysVintageKitchen

    Sally from SallysVintageKitchen said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article!

  • FeyTale

    Vala Faye from FeyTale said 5 years ago

    I'm kinda intrigued by beekeeping practices.. On the one hand you have the need for bees to be cared for in todays society, in order for them to fulfill their very important role of polinator, so beekeeping seems like something you'd definitely want to encourage around the world. However, humans and animals..it often results in an abusive relationship. I'm kind of curious to see if the beekeeping industry is in fact part of it. I've heard amongst others that they kill the queen after 2 years to keep control of the hive and stop swarming (though the queen can live up to 5 years normally), and that the mouse guard they put on the hives keeps the bees from being able to remove their dead from the nest. Tales of gassing, using smoke to control them and make them 'behave' In principle I'm all for a harmonious relationship between man and animal..but time and time again, I've been disappointed that this relationship often turns into one of power abuse. It would be interesting to hear this man's opinion on these issues, as he's a bee hive consultant :)

  • misspoppys1

    Marie Allen from misspoppys1 said 5 years ago

    Bees are wonderful things and really fascinating. I grow lots of fruit & veg in my little garden (in England) so I am really aware of the need for bees in our environment to pollenate my fruit trees, strawberries etc. I try to grow bee attracting plants and the lavender bushes almost hum all summer from visiting bees. I have also been known to rescue tired bees by placing them on a rim of saucer of sugar water. They work so hard and fly many kilometres to find what they want! I love them!

  • BeadCoNet

    Kay Cristal from BeadCoNet said 5 years ago

    Love the article! :-D

  • whohasseenthewind

    Chelsea Duncan said 5 years ago

    This is a very interesting and fun article! Definitely something I would not have thought about otherwise. Very enlightening!

  • yqsl66

    Ada Ada from idajewelry66 said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing .

  • FavreBijoux

    Mimi from FavreBijoux said 5 years ago

    I really enjoyed this post!,

  • Nicker456

    Matthew and Nicole Kline from KlineHoneyBeeFarm said 5 years ago

    Great article on the bees!

  • dumberdash

    Marian said 5 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I am a massive fan of bees and will one day own a hive. Melbourne is in the grip of beemania right now and we have a brilliant urban bee movement here is the link. http://www.urbanhoneyco.com/ ... I will be sharing your blog with them and some other wannabeeeee keeper friends of mine. Marian.

  • SteamBathFactory

    Gin Shakespear from SteamBathFactory said 5 years ago

    I {heart} bees!

  • retroreclaim

    Moxie Moxon from MoxieRevival said 5 years ago

    honey natures liquid gold. great article and great pictures! makes me want to be a bee keeper.

  • TankandTalula

    dana nowalinski from TankandTalula said 5 years ago

    I am obsessed with bees! And i agree there is something soothing about watching them. I wish more people would get into beekeeping.

  • laralewis

    Laurie Lewis from ShopHedgerowRose said 5 years ago

    Someday I would love to care for bees. This was a fascinating (and inspiring!) article.

  • Raven2040

    Sandra Squires from SandrasSunnyShoppe said 2 years ago

    I have fallen in love with raw honey, and I wont go back. <3

  • suemako

    Sue from SuesAkornShop said 2 years ago

    Amazing- congrats!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 2 years ago

    Great and informative story. Thanks.

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 2 years ago

    What an interesting read ♥︎♥︎♥︎ there is definitely something calming about bees going about their work in a garden

  • thewildplum

    Christina from TheWildPlum said 2 years ago

    “According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyways. Because bees don't care what humans think is impossible.” ― Bee Movie

  • thewildplum

    Christina from TheWildPlum said 2 years ago

    My father was a beekeeper when he was younger. He instilled in me a deep respect for the little non-stop workers responsible for more than just honey. We need bees and they need us to BEEACTIVE. Great article!!! Thank you for reposting it because I managed to miss it three years ago.

  • mytreasury

    Mia Blaz from MiaBlazdesign said 2 years ago

    Very interesting article!

  • FreshRetroGallery

    Elizabeth Knaus from FreshRetroGallery said 2 years ago

    I am the beneficiary of wonderful honey because my mother and father in-law keep bees in South Dakota. My mother-in-law inspired the development of my family tree charts.

  • admspeicher
  • JPerezArt

    Jeannette Perez from JPerezArt said 2 years ago

    I admire the dedication an hard work. Thanks.

  • dot1234

    dot1234 from DonebyDot said 2 years ago

    Fascinating article,,,, I found it very rich j in information thanks for sharing,,,,,

  • Proton3D

    Proton ThreeD from Proton3D said 2 years ago

    fascinating, thank you for sharing!

  • jingyancheng

    Lulu Cheng from Yimoartstudio said 2 years ago

    like the story,thanks

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 2 years ago

    Love this story, very informative!

  • BlueSeaPaintShop

    ACR from IntoTheBluePaintShop said 2 years ago

    Awesome!!

  • allwood1

    allwood1 from AllWoodToo said 2 years ago

    Bees are so important....Thanks for sharing your story...Congrats on the feature!

  • MuslimPenguin

    Mana The Muslim Penguin from Theirstory said 2 years ago

    We have natural bees. :) They make hives around our house (only our house). but I want to have a hive of mini bees! We have mini bees that stop by and collect honey. So ity bity. But they don't make hives here.... only the big ones.

  • boloties
  • MiraGuerquin

    Mira Guerquin from MiraGuerquin said 2 years ago

    Great article and great pictures. Thank you!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 2 years ago

    Terrific and interesting article. Bee's are amazing little creatures ~ We've had honey bees wild outside a structure in the back of our house for years and we all seem to co exist pretty good !

  • overtherainbowsoaps

    Over The Rainbow Soaps from OverTheRainbowSoaps said 2 years ago

    Very cool! :)

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 2 years ago

    Respect!

  • skylaboutique

    Wirat J. from SkylaBoutique said 2 years ago

    Love honey and I admire all hard work for bee keepers. :)

  • brittanyruehle

    Brittany Ruehle from LovingBlossoms said 2 years ago

    I have a top bar hive and a langstroth hive in my backyard. The top bar has a window, so I can sit and watch the bees working too--- it is truly one of natures most fascinating colonies! Honey fresh from the hive is amazing! I could never use store bought again!

  • PaintBoxWearables

    Tempy Osborne from PaintBoxStudios said 2 years ago

    Excellent article, thank you bee keepers all over the world!

  • MonsieurCoffee

    TJ Carls from BloomgoDesignStudio said 2 years ago

    What an excellent piece.

  • wingjei

    Jei Wing said 2 years ago

    love the bees and honey

  • ThrowItForward

    angie from ThrowItForward said 2 years ago

    Too bad for mass production...colony collapse disorder...pesticides and the like. We really shouldn't take for granted the benefit of having local bee keepers.

  • studioLISE

    studioLISE from studioLISE said 2 years ago

    Love local honey! what a great story! best of luck : )

  • storysparkcreative

    Sarah Barrett from StorySparkCreative said 2 years ago

    Great post! I don't keep bees currently, but hope to in the future and can't wait for it to be a part of my life. Of course, from having attended beekeepers meetings, watching documentaries about this and talking to lots of people who keep bees, even as a hobby, I am expecting some serious challenges! This isn't just, "hey, let's build a hive!" It's serious work and so much can go wrong. Really makes you appreciate your produce, flowers, and honey so much!

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 2 years ago

    Interesting post and really great topic for earth month :) We do not keep bees in our garden (we live by the forest), but our neighbours do - so it feels like we have hive of bees as well. Bees kept by human is friendly and more calm than wild ones. It is fun for children to hold them on arms. .

  • bagira103

    Elena Stryzhak from ElenaStr said 2 years ago

    I love honey ! and bees )

  • SparkleBeeDesigns

    Kerri Schwarz from SparkleBeeDesigns said 2 years ago

    Thank you Danielle for the article and thank you Mark for your hard work! As an entomologist I understand the importance of honeybees and our native bees too.

  • mytreasury

    Mia Blaz from MiaBlazdesign said 2 years ago

    Great Article! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • no1birchst1

    Aunt Sess from WallFlowerSoap said 2 years ago

    I love this, most people don't know that the honey you buy in the market, isn't honey at all and full of pesticides, , most honey sold in the U.S. comes from China, which would be ok, except they have managed to get around our laws regarding pesticides.

  • aivijaagerlepikov

    Aivi from AivisWoodenButtons said 2 years ago

    It warms my heart to find article about beekeeping in Etsy :) I'm a beekeeper ... here in Estonia.

  • BigPhilsEmporium

    Philip Lisle from BigPhilsEmporium said 2 years ago

    Nothing like a good bee story! I enjoy my hives here in Fort Worth, Texas. Aunt Sess is right most honey sold is not honey, its like dope they cut it with corn syrup to make more money! Also most big companies sterilize the honey which takes out all natural benefits. Support your local honey bee grower/ honey seller this upcoming season!

  • GkArtStudio

    Konstantinos Gkikas from GkArtStudio said 2 years ago

    Sweet post!!!

  • elanknits

    Ellen Mallett from elanknits said 2 years ago

    We use 60 lbs of honey a year here and buy it all locally from a few different beekeepers, one of whom is an urban beekeeper. I would love to do this when I retire.

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier said 2 years ago

    Good to see that beekeeping is alive and well....where would we be without the bees? Now if we can keep all the deadly pesticides away from them! When I was a child, we used to get the boxes of honeycomb from the health food store, and savor the sweetness and chewiness of the comb. Sweet memories!

  • birdhouseaccents

    birdhouseaccents from birdhouseaccents said 2 years ago

    Love Honey

  • dyeing2meetU

    Idy from dyeing2meetU said 2 years ago

    Bees are fascinating, they do a humble yet vital role on behalf of us all... My gratitude to those amazing devoted workers! They have a nice variety of flowers to visit where we grow woad. I am very happy to see that many people buy their honey directly from local bee keepers - Little Bear too ;)

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 2 years ago

    That's a great article! Thank you!

  • ArtisanSoapInVegas

    Cristy Ramos from ArtisanBathandBody said 2 years ago

    Wow - simply wow! Thank you so much for sharing. This is sweet as honey!

  • teestrend

    teestrend from Trend2Tees said 2 years ago

    Without bees it will be the end of the world and that is a true story!

  • kmbaker718

    Katie Baker from MarysRemedies said 2 years ago

    I agree about the bees! They are truly important. Nice story

  • misschristiana

    Christiana Odum from YarnDarlin said 2 years ago

    Man! This is my dream life!

  • smilingrabbit

    Jessica from CreativeDollCrafts said 2 years ago

    Great information..thank you for sharing!!

  • studioLISE

    studioLISE from studioLISE said 2 years ago

    love honey! love bees! there's always honey in my gazillion cups of tea that i down each day : ) love it!

  • salllman

    Gulabo from Cooldesires4u said 2 years ago

    Beautiful…xx

  • SundayOwl

    Lisa from SundayOwl said 2 years ago

    I love this post. I am grateful to all of the bees that take care of my garden.

  • itin2

    Karen Itin from VintageCraftHub said 2 years ago

    Buzz buzz... Great work! If you need bee buttons made check me out. Etsy.com/VintageCraftHub

  • gingerkidsart

    Krasi Kids Art from gingerkidsart said 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. I've always been a big fan of honey bees.

  • ASHYL

    Kerime Sevilen Mustafaoglu from ASHYL said 2 years ago

    Great article! Love honey :)

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 2 years ago

    My bees died during the cold Montana winter. But I will keep trying. It is so much fun and the raw honey is really good :P

  • store516

    Caroline Toth from SpoonStruckShop said 2 years ago

    Great work!

  • giahandmade

    Georgia Bazakou from Giahandmade said 2 years ago

    Δύσκολη η δουλειά της μελισσοκομίας, όμως έχει πολύ ενδιαφέρον και χρήσιμη για εμάς. Συγχαρητήρια!!!

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