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HONEYLOVER OF THE MONTH: Ruth Askren

BEES RESCUED FROM: A pile of abandoned carpet-padding in a garage in Bel Aire, two back-to-back wooden fences between neighbors’ yards in Van Nuys; a swarm on a cactus in Pacific Palisades; a tree trap-out in Baldwin Hills; and an overcrowded hive a beekeeper wanted to get rid of.   

When I was a kid I would catch bees and keep them in a jar for a few hours, just to watch them (– I did this with lizards and spiders too!). I became a beekeeper in my 50’s as a project for my aging dad and I to do together, because we both love to tinker, and beekeeping is definitely a hobby for tinkerers! A retired engineer, he enjoyed designing a great anti-ant hive stand and often comes up with new and ingenious solutions for various bee problems. My hives are on my parents’ property in Pacific Palisades, where Dad can keep an eye on them. 

As I wanted to learn more than I could teach myself, I joined the Backwards Beekeepers club and soon began participating in volunteer feral bee-rescues. Saving bee colonies seemed a logical outcome of my naturalist tendencies. I loved being able to see into the world of wild creatures, not in a jar! And, like my dad, I’m obsessed with tools and this work enables me to use most every kind! Learning about others’ beekeeping methods has been a fun and satisfying part of the project. Now I run Bee Capture, a bee rescue business (www.beecapture.com), taking bees out of walls, attics and trees all over the LA basin.

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Chelsea McFarland

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