After a couple of years of observing a neighbor’s bee colonies go through their seasonal cycles, Bonnie & Gary decided to join in on the fun and get their first hive.  They were spellbound immediately and had their second hive within the week.

Like many beekeepers, they found that beekeeping today is not for the faint of heart and lost one (50%) of their two hives over the first winter.  This pattern continued.  Bonnie wanted to know why and in 2009 started the annual Marin County Bee Census Survey.  The data collected in the years since has shown an average annual reported loss of 44% of honeybee colonies.  Locally adapted stock (in the form of splits) and early season swarms (presumably winter survivors) have consistently shown better rates of survival.

Bonnie and Gary were included with a group of local beekeepers that originally met in 2009 with the goal of devising a plan to breed local survivor stock.  The Marin Beekeepers Association organized workshops and speakers to help work toward this goal through education.  Individual beekeepers started raising queens and sharing splits from survivor colonies.  Despite the efforts of many dedicated beekeepers, there still remained a gap between availability of locally sourced bees and the demand generated from a burgeoning interest in the conservation of our pollinators.

In 2011, Bonnie & Gary Morse decided it was time to more aggressively pursue the goal of closing this gap and started Bonnie Bee & Company.    The company is committed to providing a local source for bees and reliable support (through classes, private lessons and hive management) for area beekeepers.

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