As we prepare installs for our new clients and the start of beekeeping season, we had some time to interview one of our very own. Amy Reukauf is not only an insect-enthusiast, but she’s also a Level 3 Beekeeper and Field Researcher here at Best Bees.
With her experience as a beekeeper over multiple seasons, Amy informs us of the one breakfast food you should avoid when tending to hives in the field. It has nothing to do with the color of the fruit and everything to do with its scent. Amy also explains the meditative nature of beekeeping and how beekeeping during a sunny day is enough to uplift anyone’s mood.
If you aren’t aware of a bee’s body language right before they prepare to sting, then you’ll enjoy this interview with Amy. Continue reading below to learn more about the beauty of beekeeping with the rural backdrop of the New England landscape.
What is your name?
What are your pronouns?
Where are you from?
Oakland, New Jersey
How long have you been at The Best Bees Company?
3 years and counting!
What’s your title/position there?
“Level 3” Beekeeper and Field Researcher
You are the first “Level 3” beekeeper we’ve interviewed. Can you explain to us what that means?
Basically, Best Bees created a system to quantify the amount of experience of the beekeepers for training purposes. I am “Level 3” out of 3 levels, which means I have completed multiple full seasons of beekeeping with Best Bees, and therefore can run beekeeping routes independently and help train newcomers.
What’s your favorite part about working at Best Bees?
My favorite part of working at Best Bees is going out beekeeping in the rural parts of Massachusetts, especially on nice sunny days. There is something really meditative and special about looking through a beehive. Beekeeping while being surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of New England makes it all the more amazing! Plus, the warm, sunny days keep both you and the bees in a better mood.
Why do you think it is important to keep bees or do the work you’re doing?
I like what Noah [Wilson-Rich] says about honey bees being an “indicator species.” I feel like people have a misconception that honey bees are endangered. The truth is, honeybees are doing fine, and they’re not even native to this continent!
However, I think using these pollinator species to better understand and preserve the native wildlife is super important work. I also think exposing and connecting people to bees, and warming them up to other insects overall is an important part of it, because bugs are also really important in our ecosystem!
What is your favorite cool bee fact?
My favorite bee fact is that their threat pheromone smells sort of like bananas. You can even smell it yourself if you open an agitated hive. Make sure you don’t eat bananas before checking your bees!
Honesty time: are you afraid of bees?
No. I got super used to the bees over the years, and now they really don’t bother me. You can tell by their body language when they are trying to sting you. So, if one is coming at me like that I might run away, but overall I wouldn’t say I really feel afraid.
Would you rather be a queen bee or a worker bee?
A drone! All they do is eat and hang out in groups with other drones and hopefully mate with a queen some day, so they definitely have it the easiest out of all the honey bees.
What are you up to when you’re not beekeeping?
When I’m not outside, I do a lot of art including mixed media drawing, painting, and sculpture. I am also a huge nerd and love video games and anime.
Is there anything that you’ve been working on or that you’re excited about that you’d like to promote?