A Beekeeper’s Guide to Staying at Home

March 25, 2020


As spring rolls into full force, the trees are beginning to put out pollen, and worker bees head out into the spring air. Our world might be grinding to a halt, but that of the bees is in full swing. And while the honeybee colonies can’t work from their homes, we can! In these times of self-quarantine, social distancing, and remote work–we’ve created a beekeeper’s guide to staying home. 

Movies to Watch

  • More than Honey (2012): This documentary focuses on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious phenomenon where bees seem to just disappear into thin air. Following 6 beekeepers around the globe, take a deep dive into the world of being a beekeeper and follow along as the filmmakers “took their existential anguish quite seriously and suffered with them when yet another bee colony disappeared or had to be destroyed.”
  • Honeyland (2019): Following the life of a rural beekeeper in Macedonia, this documentary shares her methods of natural beekeeping and the closeness she has developed with her bees. Through the film, frustration builds as her new neighbor moves in and, after talking with Hatidze begins to beekeep as well. The neighbor’s drive to capitalize on his honey production leads to his ignoring of her advice, and conflict ensues as his bees begin to revenge her bees. Unlike most documentaries, the filmmakers are silent bystanders, choosing not to interview or intervene, merely documenting what is happening in front of them. 
  • Queen of the Sun (2010): Beekeepers around the world show their holistic and natural approaches to beekeeping, in an attempt to avoid CCD and hopefully shed some light on what could be causing that in the industrial and mechanicalized world of beekeeping. From the USA to Italy, beekeepers are sharing the secrets of their hives and the worlds that surround them. 

Podcasts to Listen to

  • In Defense of Plants: This podcast covers all things plants. Each episode, the host interviews scientists of different backgrounds, to cover a variety of topics related to plants. For specific episodes relating to bees, check out #216- Buzzing Bees and the Floral Microbiome, #213Dying bees, Wasps Venmon and other strange floral scents and #182City Bee Diversity.
    • More information available on their website and episodes can be found on iTunes
  • The Business of Bees: The Bloomberg Environment reports on the plight of the honeybee, by traveling around the country interviewing people in hopes of answering the question “What is killing honeybees?”
    • More information available on their website and episodes can be found on iTunes

Books to Read

  • A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell: “Weaving a vivid portrait of her own life and her bees’ lives through the seasons, Hubbell writes “about bees to be sure, but also about other things: the important difference between loneliness and solitude . . . the accommodating of oneself to nature” (Philadelphia Inquirer).”
  • The Bees by Laline Paull: “This The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games debut makes one Rioter’s list of top books about bees. Flora 717 is a sanitation bee born into society’s lowest class. She cleans her orchard hive and lives to serve the Queen. However, Flora has talents that are not typical of her kind, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an overwhelming and forbidden desire.”  Bookriot.com
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: “Lily Owens lives with her abusive father and their maid Rosaleen, who acts as a surrogate mother to Lily. After Rosaleen is arrested, Lily helps her escape, and they decide to leave for Tiburon where Lily is introduced to the world of beekeeping and honey-making from a trio of eccentric sisters.” Bookriot.com
The Secret Life of Bees is also a fantastic movie starring Queen Latifa and Dakota Fanning
  • The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia” “The small Mexican town of Linares is forever changed when Nana Reja finds an abandoned baby under a bridge. Simonopio is disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, but Francisco and Beatriz Morales happily adopt him. As Simonopio grows, his uncanny gift of visions and his protective swarm of bees become a cause of wonder to the Morales family.” Bookriot.com

Snack Time

  • Pan Fried Honey Bananas: I like to throw these on french toast, or pancakes!
  • Honey milk: Warm some milk on the stove (I like to use non-dairy milk!), stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of honey. Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder for a major immune boost. Adjust to your taste preferences, but this drink is the perfect comfort.
  • Honey Glazed Salmon: This recipe is so simple and sweet! All you need is salmon soy sauce, garlic, and of course, honey!

Immune Boosters

  • Hot water with lemon and honey is a great sore throat/cough remedy. The lemon has some vitamin c to help combat those germs, and the honey is a known cough remedy.
  • Homemade Honey Cough Drops are a fun indoor project and are a natural and tasty alternative to storebought cough drops.
  • Honey Garlic Ferment is easy to make. All you do is toss garlic cloves and honey into a jar, cap it, and let it ferment! The longer they sit, the less intense the sharpness of the garlic will be, the recommended soak time is about a month. Pop a clove when you feel under the weather, or add it to any savory dish— like pizza!
  • Propolis is a complex mixture of plant resins and wax made by the bees. It contains bioflavonoids that are thought to strengthen our immune system. You can buy propolis in capsule, extract, and spray form, at most natural health stores.
Propolis in the hive and in the bottle

Spa Tips

Honey can be used for many facemasks:

  • Yogurt and honey will brighten your skin and moisturize
  • Honey and cinnamon will provide a gentle exfoliant 
  • Olive oil and honey will relieve dry skin
  • Coffee grounds and honey will tighten skin and exfoliate

Honey can also be used for hair masks. Mix a little bit of honey with coconut oil on the stove until both are liquid and combined. Let cool, and then apply to your hair, starting at the ends. Let sit for 30 minutes and then wash your hair as usual.

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