Happy Bee fans, supporters, helpers, facilitators, admirers, friends. If we could rename the centuries-long tradition of bee "keeping", those are some ways that we might think about reframing our relationship with honeybees. Honeybees, like all pollinators, need our help.
We began answering that call for help after discovering a book on backyard beekeeping in the window of a used bookstore in Fort Bragg, California while Judd and Victoria were celebrating their anniversary. We devoured the book and promptly wanted to learn more. As educators, we understood the importance of learning as much as possible before handling bees to have the greatest possibility of providing honeybees with what they need, to be able to recognize problems when they develop, and to properly manage hives in a responsible and sustainable manner. We became members of the San Diego Beekeeping Society, took beekeeping classes from Penn State University, signed up with the County of San Diego Apiary Program, and learned from Girl Next Door online videos by Hilary Kearney. We subscribed to the American Bee Journal to learn more, and bought and read numerous books on beekeeping.
Our intent was, and still is, to help honeybees and other pollinators in a time of major decline. We knew that it wouldn't be easy, and that we would likely face difficult challenges. Our commitment to intensive regular observations and an integrated management approach have paid off. We have not lost a colony yet, despite major challenges. We owe a great deal of our success to the knowledge and guidance we have received from the San Diego Beekeeping Society and County of San Diego Apiary Program.
One key element of supporting our honeybees has been the transformation of our landscaping to California native pollinator-friendly flowering plants. Our garden is now a certified "Earth-Friendly Garden" by the Master Gardener Association of San Diego County, and recognized as a pollinator-friendly garden by the Xerces Society.
Safe and sustainable beekeeping practices are essential to what we do. All of our Happy Bee hives are registered with the County of San Diego Apiary Program, and we follow all rules, regulations, and guidelines established by both the City of San Diego and County of San Diego.
As educators, we love sharing our knowledge about beekeeping with others. When we're not buzzing around the native garden or apiary, Victoria teaches Communication, Judd teaches Geography, and Tom (retired) teaches Mathematics.