15 Famous Beekeepers In History and Today

July 25, 2016

Famous beekeepers include Martha Stewart, holding a full frame of honey while wearing a beekeeping suit.



Since the beginning of humankind and all throughout history, people have been obsessed with bees. Accounts of beekeepers date all the way back to Ancient Greece with Aristotle being most well known. Today’s beekeepers are assumed to be eccentric old men living in Vermont making their own mead and maple syrup. In actuality, beekeeping is much more common. In fact, many celebrities practice the art. It’s becoming more and more mainstream, especially with the growth of environmentalism.


In History


Maria Von Trapp – Singer and Beekeeper


The Von Trapp family, with Maria Von Trapp, one of the famous beekeepers
A family photo of the Von Trapps.


Maria Von Trapp, of the Trapp Family Singers, was an avid beekeeper. She and her family arrived in the United States in the early 1940’s and settled in Stowe, Vermont. After encouragement from her husband, Maria started beekeeping and established an apiary on the family farm.


Aristotle – Philosopher and Beekeeper


Aristotle was a famous beekeeper


The Greek philosopher and scientist is known as the “Father of Biology,” and for good reason. He was fascinated with the natural world, especially wildlife – and especially bees. He kept honey bees in primitive hives, and in his Historia Animalium, he was the first to offer a systemic account of the lives of bees.


Hippocrates – Physician and Beekeeper




Known as the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates, the Greek physician, recommended honey and pollen as a remedy for a wide variety of ailments.


Agnes Powell – Founder of the Girl Scouts and Beekeeper


Agnes Powell, one of the most famous beekeepers.


Agnes Powell was the founder of the Girl Scouts and also an avid naturalist and beekeeper. She was so interested in the natural world, in fact, that she kept bees, birds, and butterflies in her home. In 1904, the American journalist Hayden Church described a visit to the Powell family home and noted that “having the bees in the drawing room was an afterthought worthy of a Powell.”


Eva Crane – Researcher and Beekeeper


Eva Crane, one of the most famous beekeepers


Eva Crane was trained as a quantum mathematician, and earned a Ph.D in nuclear physics in 1941. When she married her husband in 1942, the two received a beehive as a wedding present. This gift would prove to be prophetic, as she went on to become one of the greatest writers on bees and beekeeping in the 20th century. She wrote over 180 papers, articles, and books on the subject, and traveled to more than 60 different countries to research different beekeeping methods. In 2002, she founded the Eva Crane Trust, a grant-giving charity that still advances apiology (the study of honey bees) today.




Scarlett Johansen – Actor and Beekeeper


Scarlett Johansson


Scarlett Johansen, the star from Captain America and Lucy, began beekeeping after receiving a hive of bees as a wedding present from Samuel L. Jackson. She received the hive from Jackson after their constant discussions of the global collapse of bees. She currently uses the honey from her bees as an organic skincare beauty regimen.


Morgan Freeman – Actor and Beekeeper


Morgan Freeman


Morgan Freeman detailed his transformation of his 126-acre ranch in Mississippi to a bee haven on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Channeling his inner Berkeley hippie, he does not use any protection while beekeeping because he “resonates” and “becomes one” with the bees.


Literary Figures


Leo Tolstoy – Writer and Beekeeper


Leo Tolstoy, one of the. most famous beekeepers


Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author, detailed his beekeeping knowledge while penning War and Peace. Tolstoy’s insight came from owning his own hives while in Russia. His wife writes in her diary describing Tolstoy’s love of bees stating, “He is crouching in front of his hives, net over his head. The apiary has become the centre of the world for him now and everybody has to be interested exclusively in Bees!”


Sylvia Plath – Poet and Beekeeper


Slyvia Plath headshot, in black and white, one of the most famous beekeepers.


Sylvia Plath, famed for authoring The Bell Jar, was fascinated with bees and owned her own hives. Months before her death, she wrote poems using bees as a descriptive point for her degenerating relationship with her husband. The poems describe her isolation from her spouse along with her tumultuous experiences with beekeeping.


Emily Dickinson – Poet and Beekeeper


Black and white photo of emily dickinson, one of the most famous beekeepers


While Emily Dickinson is considered one of the most important figures in American poetry, many people are unaware of her love for botany and gardening. Out of the 1800 or so poems written during her lifetime, her knowledge of plants and flowers emphasized her passion for observing worker bees from her window sill. Dickinson wrote about 100 poems on bees.




Sting from The Police – Musician and Beekeeper


Sting performing live on stage


Gordon Sumner, more commonly known as Sting from The Police, has been affected deeply by bees despite not owning any hives. He received his stage name, Sting, during college from a band mate who believed Sumner resembled a bee from often wearing a black and yellow sweater. He is now the Patron of the beekeeping charity, Bees for Development.


Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers – Bassist and Beekeeper


Flea holding a frame from a beehive


The Red Hot Chili Peppers’s bassist, Flea, has extensively documented his adoration of bees on Instagram. He has established an apiary, which holds three hives, totaling over 60,000 bees. As an environmentalist and true beekeeper, he has affectionately termed his hives as “Flea’s bees”.


Beyoncé – Singer and Beekeeper


Beyonce performing at the Rose Bowl


The superstar reportedly has over 80,000 bees that make hundreds of jars of honey a year. She started beekeeping because her daughters, Blue Ivy and Rumi, have allergies, and Beyoncé hoped that honey would help to heal and alleviate their symptoms.




Martha Stewart – Businesswoman, TV Personality, and Beekeeper



Martha Stewart was the original home and lifestyle influencer; her TV show Martha Stewart Living solidifying her status as the authority on all things to do with the kitchen, home, and garden. She has been keeping bees since the 1970s to pollinate the flowers and plants in her beautifully landscaped gardens. She got started with the help of Ed Weiss, a beekeeping expert and author of The Queen and I, a guidebook for beekeepers.


David Beckham – Athlete and Beekeeper


David beckham kneels in front of his beehives, becoming one of today's most famous beekeepers.


The famous British footballer (soccer player, if we dare to refer to him as that) fell into beekeeping over lockdown during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beckham has posted photos and videos of his apiary at the Beckham family home in Cotswolds, England, captioning one of these posts “What a buzzzz, who would’ve thought honey harvesting would become my favourite thing to do?”. With at least five hives, Beckham will definitely be enjoying a plentiful honey harvest during the summers!

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