KAAT BYRD: How did your story with the bees begin?
BEE CHARMER: Ever since I was a child I had a connection with bees. My wife always encouraged me to work with them. When CCD happened I was drawn even more. We decided it was no longer OK to just sit around and do nothing. We sold everything and moved to what I call the bee capitol of the world (big island Hawaii) to start a non-profit dedicated to making bees sustainable.
KB: What is your focus and goal as a bee guardian?
BC: It is ever changing. At first I just wanted get to the bottom of the cause of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). I got a job in commercial bee keeping. When I saw how bees where being treated, the goal changed! I wanted to help commercial bee keeping to see the damage they are causing in the bee world. When I realized they didn’t care, my goal changed again. I have since decided to continue to just let the bees guide me and work as hard as I can for them.
KB: How does the local environment shape your work?
BC: This place is so amazing for bees. For the most part there is a ban on GMO. Food sources everywhere and year round perfect temperature! It rains a little too much but it’s ok.
KB: What threatens your (work with the) bees and how do you work with these threats?
BC: Unfortunately after I released the video I took of commercial bee keeping and what they do to bees, I received a death threat. That shook me up a bit and almost made me reconsider my approach. After speaking to my wife, I decided there is no threat and never will be! I will not quietly go about this. The world needs to know.
KB: What do you believe is the key element for a healthy and strong apiary?
BC: Quality bee people. Healthy clean water source for the bees.
KB: What are you working on right now?
BC: Next major study we are doing at Gentle Hive Bee Foundation is the effects of structured water (crystalblueent.com) on the hives.
KB: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
BC: I’m always inspired by the bees. Mostly just amazed at all they do and are responsible for. I am blessed to also know many amazing Melissae like Jen Bee, Laura Bee, and so many more. The most amazing bee people I know are women and I look up to them very much!
KB: Can you share one of your favorite bee stories?
BC: I was removing a killer bee hive from a tree in Arizona. It was about 15 feet up in the tree. The ladder slipped and I fell face first into the hive and of course I wasn’t wearing any protection. Well, let’s just say my own daughter didn’t recognize me.
KB: A piece of advice for rookie bee guardians?
BC: Always listen to your intuition. The bees will tell you what they need.