The Buzz About Bees

 

We’ve all read the alarming news about the decline of bees, especially the honeybees we rely upon to pollinate much of our food. It’s so disturbing, and if you are like me, you would love to be able to help the poor bees. The good news, especially if you live in Orange County, California, is that you can! And without lifting a sticky finger.

 Several weeks ago, my friend Carey and I attended a workshop, sponsored by Slow Food Orange County, held by these two heroic women, Janet and Kelly, the owners of Backyard Bees. The women started keeping bees after they discovered bee swarms in their own backyards. After learning the art of beekeeping, they now run a successful beekeeping eco business.

Concerned about Colony Collapse Disorder and the worldwide bee shortage crisis, the two women started responding to other residents from San Clemente to Fullerton who didn’t want to call exterminators to remove backyard swarms. Instead of sucking the football-like swarms into a death chamber, Janet and Kelly relocate the swarms into new hives where they can continue their important work. When word got out about their rescue efforts and successful honey harvesting, the two women were overwhelmed by the response. (Here they are demonstrating the protective gear they wear when handling the bees.)

 

Currently, Janet and Kelly tend more than 100 beehives in the yards of residents all over Orange County. They sell their local honey–which is pure, filtered and treatment-free-to local vendors, including Whole Foods. I bought one of these jars (about $12 and worth every penny) and it is silky smooth and so sweet, and you know, they say eating local honey fends off seasonal allergies. They also sell their honey online.

 They would like to have about 300 hives throughout Orange County. The deal is they do all the work, setting up the bee boxes, maintaining the hives and harvesting the honey, and all you do is let them use a protected part of your property. Sweet!

 Not only can you enjoy watching these amazing creatures up close, but you help sustain the local population. If you are lucky, you get to keep some of the honey. The rest is sold by Backyard Bees, and used to make lotions and other beeswax products.

 If you want to learn how to tend your own hives independently, these women teach classes on how to do it. They will be holding a workshop later this month (April 26) at the South Coast Garden Show in Costa Mesa.

 

 During our workshop, held in Janet’s mini-farm in the Orange hills, they showed us how they use this machine to extract the bee from the honeycomb using centrifugal force.

  

 

I really want hives in my yard, but I think I’m in too dense of a housing situation, filled with kids and pets and not a lot of open space. But if you have a small, protected spot in your yard, you could host one or more of their hives!  Just give Janet or Kelly a buzz (Click HERE for their contact info) and they will come and evaluate your yard to see if you get to host one of their hives. Also, call them if an unwanted swarm ends up in your yard and they will remove it for you, free of charge.

If you don’t live in our area, I hope you can find a similar business that would help you avoid using exterminators and if you want, help you start your own backyard hive.

3 thoughts on “The Buzz About Bees

  1. So glad you were able to learn about these ladies and what they do. I first learned about them when they came to the Hortense Miller Garden to remove a hive there. Such a great idea. Thanks!

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