#NextGenBeekeeper: Will Bristol
#NextGenBeekeeper is a series of profiles and features on the lives of the next generation of beekeepers emerging in the field. Keep an eye out on our social media for the #NextGenBeekeeper tag.
Will Bristol is our Los Angeles beekeeper. He was recently featured in a photoshoot for Blondie’s Pollinator album as a local expert beekeeper. Read about his experience here.
Name: Will Bristol
Hometown: Kingston, MA
How long have you been at The Best Bees Company? 7 months
Position/title: Beekeeper in Los Angeles
What is your favorite part of beekeeping? Working with nature and in many ways, for the environment, brings with it a feeling of fulfillment I have never experienced with any other job. For the first time in my life I feel like what I am doing is making a difference instead of just brainless busy work.
What is your least favorite part of beekeeping? When the temperature up in the valley and/or Pasadena gets up above 100 and I am also wearing a bee suit, it can get…..warm.
How did you get into beekeeping? I read a compelling article on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Under an hour later I had found [beekeeping] classes in my city, and purchased a bee suit online. I made a friend at the third class and we exchanged info. Six months later I received a random email from her informing me that The Best Bees Company was looking hire a beekeeper for their Los Angeles team, and asking if I would like to be put in touch with the hiring manager.
Why do you think it is important to keep bees or do the work you’re doing? It is of the utmost importance for so many reasons. Too many to list in such a small space so I won’t even try. I will however say that for anyone with capable means, it is imperative to get involved with this movement because of WHAT is at stake. The pollination of our crops, and the variety itself, that we refer to as the spice of life. The severity of this issue transcends environmental activism, and is in my opinion, a civic duty.
Do you have any of your own hives or family with hives? I am currently living in a very small apartment and trying to convince everyone I meet with yard space to let me keep a hive of my own in their yard. So far, no bites. I plan on moving in 2018. Most of my friends out here in LA are always in search of a “dog-friendly” or “cat-friendly” apartment. I will be looking for one that is “bee-friendly,” and am confident that it exists.
What is your favorite cool bee fact? I love that bees can communicate to one another where forging sources are by using the position of the sun and performing the “waggle dance.”
Honesty time: are you afraid of bees? Speaking honestly, the occasional sting can at times be annoying, and I try to avoid it whenever possible, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Would you rather be a queen bee or a worker bee? Worker. A short and merry life of “whistling while you work,” and traveling from one gorgeous flower to another is the life for me. I am in love with flowers — my favorite flower is the passion flower. So beautiful.
Have you ever dated another beekeeper? Nope.
Favorite beekeeping location? I absolutely LOVED Bill’s Bees up in Sylmar, CA where I took my classes last year. Such a peaceful environment with beautiful mountainscapes and wondrous valleys, filled with unlimited foraging options. Such happy little worker bees live up there!
What is your advice for young people interested in beekeeping who may not have the space or money to start keeping bees on their own? JUST DO IT! A place to put a hive and money will unfold once you commit yourself to anything you want to attain, no matter how grim the circumstance. I had absolutely NOWHERE to put bees and never thought the [beekeeping] classes would lead to a job. But, I figured if I took the classes, a place to keep a hive would unfold before me. Instead they lead me to make a friend who introduced me to The Best Bees Company. Not having the space or money for bees is impermanent, if you are suddenly finding yourself fascinated by bees, start now, everything else will eventually work itself out.