KAAT BYRD: How did your story with the bees begin?
KIM MONJOY: My bee story starts at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. They hosted a Bee party in 2010. I kept hearing about bees being in trouble for the past year or more, I went and attended a talk by Sam Comfort. I was hooked, the whole feeling of this party was so wonderful.
Just relaxing in the grass after the talk, taking in the live music watching the bees land and feed on the white clover right next to me in Brooklyn, NY. Seeing a couple dressed in swimsuits inside a screened tent with tons of bees around them. I got this feeling of intoxication and that I needed to become more involved.
I did some research, at the time I was living in Tribeca, next to Pier 26, NYC. People were keeping bees in the city, but the laws had not been changed just yet. I wondering if Pier 40 would be into me keeping bees on their roof and if so where would they eat. There is the newly redone flowers and trees section along the Hudson River Park but would it be enough for them. Didn’t have to wonder too long because even with me reading about bees and visiting a bee keeping group in Brooklyn. I moved to Ocean County NJ.
I had some land and thought about looking into wild life rescue for bats and other animals. I attended a bee talk of my current mentor of sorts. His bee keeping views were different from what I had heard in Brooklyn, I would soon come to realize every bee keeper I would meet had different thoughts about keeping bees.
I knew that Sam’s talk really stuck with me and in the winter of 2013, I would place an order with Anarchy Apiaries for 2 Top Bar Hives with Nucs and some drawn comb to arrive in May of 2014. That’s when things got really going.
KB: What is your focus and goal as a bee guardian?
KM: My focus is to have a safe home for the bees, and try not to harm them as I think I’m helping. Take time to think out what to do instead of just reacting, I’ve done in bunches of bees thinking that I was acting in their best interest.
KB: How does the local environment shape your work?
KM: My yard is without treatments, I live in an old section of town (Historic) so most of the plants are well established and older. I try to grow native plants, tell my neighbors about my bees so they smile and think when they see them visiting their yards. Try to educate them out of buying new flower stock from big box stores, and let their lawns be chemical free.
KB: What threatens your (work with the) bees and how do you work with these threats?
KM: The threats are all around from the area mosquito authority (zika fears) to the new guy getting his yard sprayed, to people who think you shouldn’t be keeping bees at all. I try to keep the hive behind my house so I don’t attract a lot of attention. Trying to deal with really strange weather patterns and drought.
KB: What are you working on right now?
KM: I’m just going into my 4th season and hoping like heck that my hive will make it through the other side of winter.
KB: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
KM: I lOve listening to the treatment free podcast by Solomon Parker and reading Happy Hour At The Top Bar Hive blog posts. I was super excited to have Micheal Bush reply to one of my newbie questions.
KB: Can you share one of your favorite bee stories?
KM: My favorite bee story happened last winter, after cleaning snow and ice away from the hives entry a single bee came to see what all the ruckus was about. I took off my glove and she climbed my finger. I thought it would be as simple as me holding my finger to the entry for her to just climb off and wander back inside. She had another idea, as she turned and climbed up the sleeve of my coat. At first I just gently shook my arm looking for her to drop out, then a bit more. No good. I figured that the motion and my many layers of clothes had done her in, but just encase. I sat in my car with the heat blasting and removed the coat and 3 layers of clothes to find her resting on my bare skin just taking in the warmth. All I could do was smile. For now, this is my favorite story to tell.
KB: A piece of advice for rookie bee guardians?
KM: Think before action and (consider) what would happen if you did nothing.