Honeybee colonies have been dying off drastically, but beekeepers Neal Wechsler and Samantha Boyd from BeeWitched Bee are hoping to educate others on how they can keep the honeybee population thriving.
The story of BeeWitched Bee started with just one hive. A few years ago, gardeners Neal Wechsler and Samantha Boyd were experiencing the effects of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees in colonies suddenly disappear, resulting in hives that are unable to sustain themselves. This naturally leads to a decrease in pollination, which many agricultural crops rely on for a high food yield. Boyd and Wechsler from Northport noticed a lack of honeybees in their area and decided to invest in a hive.
“We started because we’re gardeners and for a few years there weren’t many honeybees,” said Samantha Boyd. “And then for about two years we didn’t see any honeybees at all in the garden, so that’s when we decided to get a hive.”
That one hive sparked a honeybee passion for the Northport gardeners. Eventually, they realized that one hive wouldn’t make much of a difference. So, they invested in three more hives and soon, they had hives all over Suffolk County.
With so many hives, Samantha and Neal were able to produce enough honey to make a business out of, and they did just that. They formed BeeWitched Bee and have been selling their products at local farmer’s markets. They offer an assortment of honey based products such as lip balms, candles, perfume, and, of course, honey.
Not content with just one flavor of honey, BeeWitched Bee offers an assortment of honey infused with all-natural flavors. They have honey infused with cinnamon, dark chocolate, lemon, ginger, hot chili, and many others.
“We have turmeric honey which is wonderful because turmeric is anti-inflammatory and honey itself is anti-inflammatory,” said Samantha Boyd, “so it’s very good for people who have any sort of inflammatory conditions.”
Besides the products they sell, Samantha and Neal also offer something valuable to their customers: Bee education.
“We do talks at libraries and some school events,” Wechsler said. “We do another talk on the history of honey and its health benefits.”
Honey does indeed provide a lot of health benefits. They provide nutrients, contain antioxidants that helps lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol, and can even be applied to burns and wounds on the skin for a natural healing remedy.
Honeybees play an incredibly important role in our ecosystem, but pesticides, herbicides, and mites are having a detrimental effect on their population.
“We encourage people that we talk with to plant native species of plants,” said Samantha Boyd, “and to not use any pesticides on their lawns.”
“If everybody plants something on their property for bees to go to,” said Neal Wechsler, “then there’s more for the bees to get and for them to survive.”
BeeWitched Bee can be found at the Northport farmers market on Saturdays and the Port Jefferson farmers market on Sundays. They will also have a booth at the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington Village.