Interview with 'BeesandTrees' a woman in beekeeping

This week I was happy to hear from a woman in beekeeping too! Let me introduce you to Susan from Bees and Trees are beekeepers and maple syrup specialists “making hay while the sun shines” from our 65-acre tree farm in rural Ohio. Don't forget to follow Bees and Trees on Instagram and Facebook (links below).

Share a little about yourself and how long have been you been a beekeeper for?

 I live on a 65-acre tree farm in Ohio and from here I do my main job which is writing about antiques and collectibles for several trade publications. I am also a competitive swim coach who recently stepped away from full-time coaching (been doing year round since 1994) and now I only do private swim lessons. 

I got into bee-keeping about six years ago and love it!

What was the inspiration that lead you to learn and become a Beekeeper?

I've always been fascinated by bees, insects of all kinds actually; well, okay - nature in general. Our tree farm is a nature wonderland! I've raised Monarch butterflies and tagged them. I am the Ohio Bluebird Society Coordinator for my county. I maintain blueberry, red raspberry, and elderberry bushed and we also have a small orchard, strawberry patch, and grape arbor. Oh - an hops. We grow hops! All of these plants benefit from the bees pollinating along with the other pollinators that hang out here. But really, I started bee-keeping because I find it fascinating and humbling at the same time.

What has been your biggest personal reward in being a beekeeper?

I truly love introducing others to my bees and watching people who might before have been afraid; being fascinated as well. And I love to see the "Wow" on people's faces when they taste my "real" honey. 

What has been your biggest challenge in beekeeping?

My biggest challenge is overwintering my bees. Some years I have great success; some years not so much. Managing mites is an issue I need to delve into more than ever. It's an on-going challenge to keep my "girls" safe

Women in beekeeping Interview with Bees and Trees

How would you describe you average weekly beekeeping duties?

This year I am maintaining seven hives in hive boxes and I "acquired" (meaning people had no one else to take them so I volunteered) two wild hives living in dead trees that were cut down. I caught several swarms and so I am continuing to feed them so we can get a second deep on them by the end of July. I use both the drone comb method and sticky boards to keep an eye on mite levels. I go into my hives maybe once a week or once every other week depending on what I see, but I visit my hives daily.

Do you have any tips and advice for newly inspired beekeepers? 

Ask questions. Ask questions. And, oh yes, ask questions! And join your local bee-keeping association. Having a seasoned beekeeper as a mentor that is just a phone call away is also a wonderful thing! 

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Women in beekeeping Interview with Bees and Trees

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