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Beekeeper Braves Allergy to Care for Honey Bees

November 29, 2018

Honey Bees

According to Gary Pointon, a New Zealand beekeeper, "It’s part of beekeeping that you're going to get stung, and for the first 20 stings, I was fine. Then, I got stung in the head and went into anaphylactic shock, and the doctors decided I was allergic ... [but] it hasn’t stopped me!" Pointon is one of over 6,500 beekeeping hobbyists in the island country of New Zealand—building beehives, chasing swarms, and experiencing occasional stings from the small, endangered insects. He discovered this passion once his wife, Eve, turned him from his unlikely hopes of climbing Mount Everest—like that of his hero, Sir Edmund Hillary—and towards bees.

"I know what happens to people who climb Everest," Eve said. "They stay there. I thought this is a way he can be like Sir Ed, but maybe a little bit safer, I thought at the time." It turns out that beekeeping comes with its own risks, as Pointon discovered with his ill-fated bee sting, which saw him collapse in his bathroom unconscious while his roommate, Hadley Taylor, also a beekeeper, called for an ambulance. Per Pointon, "I was on my stretcher, and I said, 'Wife, please can you bring my phone charger? I know how long it takes at the hospital.’ I wasn’t taking it very seriously." Since then, Pointon carries an EpiPen with his beekeeping suit just to be just safe.

Backyard beekeeping has been growing in popularity in many countries, with New Zealand likely seeing a surge due to the increased demand for Manuka honey. The country’s Ministry for Primary Industries even reported a 15 percent growth in beekeeping enterprises over the course of 2017 as well as more than 100,000 new beehives established. According to Pointon, "I think the perception of bees has changed nowadays. People know we need them, and they're a big part of our environment. The general public are much more accepting. I've been really lucky—all my neighbors are totally fine with it."

With their beekeeping endeavor operational for the last two years, Pointon and Taylor have started a hive hosting business called Beeboys. Together, for a regular monthly fee, the pair set a hive up using a bee swarm, manage inspections, and promise their clients a minimum of 10 kilograms of honey. Per Pointon, their clients "don't have to do anything. They're bee landowners, but if they want to get involved and put some gloves on, we’re more than willing to help them out."

Luckily for you, you don’t have to worry about bee stings to enjoy the wonderful flavor of Manuka honey. To get your order started, click here. And, remember, we offer FREE shipping on all orders of $150 or more.

Photo By Phovoir

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