Some of the workers and drones that make up the hive:
Photo: Eric Tourneret
Andrew has been keeping bees since he was a child, along with his father, Norm. He is the Founding Director of Bees Without Borders, a philanthropic endeavor to help alleviate poverty through beekeeping. A full-time college professor for the State of Connecticut, Andrew also manages a family business, Silvermine Apiary, which produces Andrew's Local Honey (sold in NYC at various Greenmarkets including Union Square on Wednesdays) and manages more colonies of honeybees in Connecticut and New York than he can remember. He divides his time between a space-challenged Lower East Side tenement apartment, and a tiny 130 year old house in Connecticut, and a few months each year in remote parts of the world like southern Uganda, the Niger Delta, Mayan villages, or Iraqi mountains, where he teaches beekeeping for Bees Without Borders. He never sleeps.
|Bettina is a Bavarian beekeeper who lives on a mountain in the Hudson Highlands. When not fretting over her bees she works as a graphic designer (she created this site) and Pilates instructor, and also spends time gardening, making ceramics and playing the Irish fiddle. This is her fifth year beekeeping. Bettina enjoys her little family, fruit and vegetables from her organic garden, and of course honey.|
|Norm has kept bees since he was a younger man, and comes from a long line of beekeepers (though the line was briefly severed when the family moved from Canada to Connecticut). He is a retired Fire Lieutenant (31 years of service) and U.S. Navy veteran. He manages many beehives in Connecticut and New York, and he and his beloved bees have been seen on Martha Stewart Living, Late Night with David Letterman, and Good Morning America. He also volunteers to go overseas to places like Guatemala, Zimbabwe, and Uganda to teach beekeeping through groups like Bees Without Borders. When not found face down in a beehive or at the nude beach in the summertime (he has wisely chosen not to combine the two passions), Norm is usually doting over his two grandchildren or his wife of 42 years.|
|David, a recent Brooklyn Heights transplant, fell into beekeeping by chance. During some down time after working on the Obama campaign, David came across an article about the NYCBA's introductory course and his world was rocked. Now he knows that his favorite honey is from the Linden tree, that drones (male bees) are worthless, and he can appreciate the fine smell of honeycomb. As an avid gardener, foodie, and political junkie, he is proud to add beekeeper to his mantle.|
|BJ started keeping bees in Brooklyn after being stung by NYCBA's Beginning Beekeeping course two years ago. An avid gardener with chickens in her "Back Forty" (feet, that is), she was thrilled when the NYC ban on beekeeping was lifted this past April, as she maintains, "No bees equals no food." When not in her garden, she can found on her scooter or onstage at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and BAM as one of the elite professional choral singers in the city. A trained chef, BJ has worked at Savoy in SoHo and in Northern Ireland after graduating from the French Culinary Institute. She has degrees in oboe from SUNY Purchase and voice from the Manhattan School of Music, which don't matter at all to her dogs and cats in Brooklyn.|
|For Ruth, it all began when her children begged for a dog, but she got them three chickens. However, soon beekeeping piqued her interest so much that she didn't hesitate to sign up for NYCBA's course in beekeeping. Timing was perfect! The ban was lifted just as Ruth completed the course. Ruth has 4 beehives in Douglaston, Queens. Being with her bees is meditative which allows her to reboot from a busy week of working full time for an investment firm and raising four children. Permaculture is what Ruth and her husband strive for in Queens. They grow vegetables and flowers from seeds; they compost; use rain barrels; their pets with benefits reward them with fresh eggs and honey. Ruth also teaches kids yoga and works on mosaic tiling. She warns that next time someone begs you for a dog…you never know where it might lead.|