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Cassandra King Q&A: Beekeeping at SwizzleSticks

Fact: 30% of every bite of food you eat has been pollinated by bees.
Fact: More honey bees die off every year due to poor nutrition.

At SwizzleSticks we are so excited and proud to announce that through our ongoing partnership with Apiaries and Bees for Communities ( aka: ABC BEES) we have two of our very own bee hives this year! Our hives reside Heritage Park Historical Village and we have the privilege of having one of our very own Massage Therapists working hard to become our Bee Mentor and Ambassador.

Cassandra WebHow long have you worked for SwizzleSticks and how do you feel about your time with the company?

When I applied to SwizzleSticks in summer of 2013, I was blown away after my interview, just learning more about the company and the people there. It was an easy and right decision for me to accept my current position.

I find that there are a lot of businesses out there that don’t seem to care about their employees or their clients, and here there’s a great balance of really genuinely caring about the SwizzleSticks client, as well as the team. We have a wonderful balance here that’s refreshing.

How did you get involved with this new initiative and what is it all about?

Last summer Eliese Watson, Founder and Bee Keeper at ABC Bees came by to make a presentation to all of us at SwizzleSticks about all of their initiatives, which was really interesting. SwizzleSticks just got two of our own hives as well. After Eliese’s presentation last summer, we were offered a couple of Field Days, where we had the opportunity to go and check out the bee hives for ourselves.

We didn’t know what to expect [at the Field Days], but we were so amazed and blown away. We got to learn more about the hives and play with the bees, and taste the honey, while having the opportunity to be educated about different bees and honey production, and pollination.

How long are you personally involved in this program? Is anyone able to sign up?

I’ll be taking classes May through to September, one afternoon a month for about three hours. All of their educational information is on their website - they want more people to be educated and eventually have more people owning their own beehives.

There’s been so much curiosity from all of the Team at the salon and spa about Bee keeping, especially after our participation in last summer’s Field Days, and now that we have our own beehives, I was chosen to be able to do this mentorship program and represent the Team as the ambassador.

Why were you personally interested in taking on the role of the Bee Ambassador?

I enjoy learning about something new and the thing that blew my mind is just how friendly [the bees] were and I just wanted to learn more about it. Eventually down the road if I ever own my own place with a yard, I would like to have the opportunity to have my own hive.

Why do you think it’s important not only for SwizzleSticks to be a part of this, but to also share the knowledge with your guests and the general public?

I think with the bees, my biggest thing I want to share about my experience, is just how friendly the bees are - a lot of people are afraid of bees and assume killing them before they sting is a good idea. You’re hearing more and more in the news these days about bees dying off, while they are huge pollinators and they are so important for our food sources. I’m learning so much through this experience already.

What have you learned that was a surprise for you to find out?

Like I said, how friendly they are and how they work together. They move throughout the hive in a cluster and they feed off the honey throughout the winter to stay warm. Little tid-bits like that have been interesting to find out.

For this experience, we were given a suit which is just a jacket and head protection, but your hands are bare. I was a bit surprised at first, especially since when you see this in movies, it’s a full suit with gloves.

I had bees crawling on my bare hands and I was able to pick one up, and they don’t do anything. They really don’t want to harm you.

The two hives that SwizzleSticks owns are at Heritage Park. Is this where the classes take place?

 The classes are at different hives throughout the city, so we’ll be moving around and will visit our location later this summer, so I’ll get to see our hives then. At our first class we got to see baby bees being born, the queen laying eggs and we found the queen bee in most of the hives that we went into.

Why would you personally recommend that people take advantage of the education that ABC has on offer?

Again, the education is so important. People might not be so quick to kill off dandelions and what we consider weeds since they’re actually important pollinators. Not being so scared too, is important to know. Planting more bee friendly flowers. It’s bee swarming season right now, so a lot of people will call exterminators, but you can just have ABC to remove the swarm for you.

There are certain things in nature that we end up taking for granted, so it’s really cool to see how they work together - it blows my mind to see this up close.

In case you missed it recently on our social media, here is a great must-see video: An Extraordinary Glimpse into the First 21 Days of a Bee’s Life in 60 Seconds -

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