Contrary to what we saw in Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” last summer, bees can’t attend college — but the little stingers are fascinating just the same.
Susan Pollard was the daughter of a beekeeper long before she met her husband, Brandon, who helped her found the Texas Honeybee Guild. With aid from volunteers willing to maintain hives on their property, the couple harvests honey right here in the neighborhood. Not only does this raw unfiltered honey taste uniquely yummy, it also contains healing enzymes that can be used to treat allergies, asthma and a number of ailments, Susan says.
But there’s a mystical side to the “bee story,” too, Susan says. It’s an intangible quality that was also elemental in her previous profession as an alternative healthcare practitioner. During her holistic endeavors, she hooked up with the bee people.
“Everyone I worked with, all my friends, knew I liked bees, and as a gift, one of them gave me a membership to the Colin County (Hobby) Beekeeping Association, and I was cast into the community of beekeepers — and I just loved all of them.”
She loved one beekeeper so much she married him, and the couple started up the honeybee guild as part of a personal mission to raise environmental awareness and advocate for bees. Through the guild, they teach others what they know about beekeeping and the bees’ role in environmental stability, and they have helped several neighbors set up urban hives.
In addition to honey, they sell bee pollen, honeycomb and other honey-related products at Dallas Farmers Market Shed 1 on Saturdays and Sundays whenever possible.
The Pollards also help gardeners handle honeybees because a garden isn’t living up to its potential without the presence of bees, they say. The tiny winged workers provide essential pollen that helps gardeners reap bigger fruits and veggies, plus they are fascinating to watch, says Don Lambert, executive director of Gardeners in Community Development, a charity that runs three community gardens in East Dallas.
“People can watch the bees at work and begin to appreciate what they do,” Lambert says.
Plus, as long as the bees are busy and you don’t interrupt their work, they probably won’t hurt you. But those wishing to work more intimately with the bees must be willing to feel the occasional sting.
“You really have to have a knack for it. It isn’t easy,” Lambert says.
The Pollards agree. Brandon is responsible for moving bees to Dallas from various apiaries around the region, and the bees are only moved in darkness, which makes for some long — and painful — nights.
“There have been nights he’s come home with stingers in his face and in his eyelids, and I’ve had to pick them out for him,” Lambert says.
Being willing to endure this pain sounds crazy, she says, “but beekeepers, we’re known to be unique people. We just love the bees.”
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