A former bank clerk has revealed how she became a passionate beekeeper after spotting bear-shaped honey jars as she passed a store near her home.
Today, Becky Dineen and her husband Art Howe run their own apiary, A Bee’s Place, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Reminiscing how it all started eight years ago, she says: “One afternoon, I was driving by a roadside stand with cute 12-ounce (340 grammes) bears of honey for sale.”
Becky revealed that she made “a giant U-turn” to find out whether the products on offer were local. The ex-bank employee quickly got in touch with seasoned beekeepers based in her region.
On her website, she recalls: “I was jumping right in and a few years later I took a job as a bee inspector. This may not seem odd to some, but I previously called on top banking executives, selling financial services. It’s a world apart from my former job!”
Becky’s beekeeping business currently consists of around 130 hives. The honey her Italian honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica, a subspecies of the western honeybee, Apis mellifera) are producing is on offer at local retailers.
While Becky manages the hives, her husband bottles and sells the honey.
Becky – who also carries out swarm removals – calls her occupation “a labour of love” and admits that she “couldn’t be happier.”
She told the Tampa Magazine: “We got into it and continue to enjoy the journey. We’ve met other beekeepers, rescued bees, battled losing bees and we love being part of such a great local community that cares about bees.”