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Natural Beekeeping Conference


Back by popular demand, HoneyLove will be hosting our Natural Beekeeping Conference in January 2020. Join us for an unforgettable weekend of keynote speakers who are leaders in the field of natural beekeeping, local experts, authors, scientists, inventors and educators.

• Michael Bush • Les Crowder • Dr. May Berenbaum • Sam Comfort • Michael Thiele • Laura Bee Ferguson • Rob Keller • Sarah Red-Laird •  Solomon Parker • Noah Wilson Rich • Matt Reed • Amanda Shaw • Paul Cronshaw  • Ariella Daly • Anna Marie Despiris • Fonta Molyneaux • Erik Knutzen • Max Wong • Rob and Chelsea McFarland

Limited tickets available to this awesome weekend so REGISTER NOW!
$305 FOR MEMBERS (Limited time sale with discount code)
$357 REGULAR (At the door)

(Please note: Single day tickets / webinars are not available for this conference. Purchases are non-refundable. Meals are not included in your ticket price but there are plenty of places nearby to eat.)

University of Southern California
Marshall Business School Bldg
3670 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Follow the signs- Located at the NW corner of S. Figueroa and Exposition

8am – 5pm’ish Saturday & Sunday
Check-in starting at 7am on Saturday

Interested in helping out a little while you attend the conference?
We would love to have you sign up for small (1-2 hr) project. You must be an annual HoneyLove member to participate behind the scenes.

Please email with the title VOLUNTEER SHIFT


To honor our friend and beekeeper Susan Rudnicki, HoneyLove has created a scholarship to gift one conference ticket and annual membership to a lucky beekeeping student.

Please nominate who you bee-lieve is the most deserving person with a short essay telling us why (along with their contact info).

The HoneyLove board will review submissions and announce the winner prior to the conference.

Please email your entry to with the title SUSAN RUDNICKI SCHOLARSHIP SUBMISSION.


Michael Bush Bio
Michael Bush
Author of The Practical Beekeeper—Beekeeping Naturally

Michael Bush is one of the leading proponents of treatment free beekeeping. He has been keeping bees since the mid 70’s, usually from two to seven hives up until the year 2000. Varroa forced more experimentation which required more hives and the number has grown steadily over the years from then. By 2008 it was about 200 hives. He is active on many of the Beekeeping forums with last count at more than 50,000 posts between all of them. He has had an eclectic set of careers from printing and graphic arts, to construction to computer programming and a few more in between. Currently he is working in computers. He has a web site on beekeeping at

“His writing is like his talks, with more content, detail, and depth than one would think possible with such few words…his website and PowerPoint presentations are the gold standard for diverse and common sense beekeeping practices.”–Dean Stiglitz

May R. Berenbaum 

Professor and Department Head PhD, 1980, University of Illinois

May Berenbaum, Ph.D. has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their hostplants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research, supported primarily by NSF and USDA, has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she has chaired two National Research Council committees, the Committee on the Future of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (2000) and the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America (2007). Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public. She graduated summa cum laude, with a B.S. degree and honors in biology, from Yale University in 1975 and received a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980.

Les Crowder 
Author “Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health”
Les Crowder Natural Beekeeping | Bee Mindful, LLC

Les Crowder has devoted his entire adult life to the study and care of honeybees. Dedicated to finding organic and natural solutions for problems commonly treated with chemicals, he designed his own top-bar hives and set about discovering how to treat disease and genetic weaknesses through plant medicine and selective breeding. He has been a leader in his community, having served as New Mexico’s honeybee inspector and president of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association. He is an avid storyteller and has spoken annually at the NM Organic Farm Conference for over fifteen years. Les is also a certified teacher and enjoys teaching children Spanish and science.

Michael Joshin Thiele 
Biodynamic & Arboreal Apiculture |

Michael’s pioneering approach to apiculture as a platform for global renewal has appeared in national and international magazines, books and films. He has presented his work at Harvard University & New York University, consulted for the USDA, and in 2006 developed the organization Gaia Bees to advance biodynamic practices in apiculture. Most recent publications are in the Atlas Obscura Magazine (June 2019) at, and a report by Reuters News US (October 2019).

In 2017 he founded Apis Arborea ( to preserve the life and resiliency of honeybees through rewilding, that is, the restoration of habitat and natural hives, and the use of a holistic ecological and science-based framework in working with bees. He offers workshops and training in apiculture practice in the U.S. and internationally.

Michael is lay-ordained in the Zen Buddhist tradition and pursues a multidisciplinary approach to apiculture, including socio-cultural and spiritual dimensions.

He currently lives with his family, and an infinity of bees, in the oak woodlands of Northern California.

Mandy Shaw |

Mandy is a beekeeper from Oregon who enjoys keeping bees in Top Bar, Warre, and Langstroth style hives. The core of Mandy’s beekeeping journey is community outreach. She has served the local beekeeping community as both treasurer and president of Portland Urban Beekeepers and owns a beekeeping consulting business named Waggle Works. She has been featured on Ologies, and in 2018 she gained the attention of National Geographic for her love of swarm catching. Mandy produces the Beekeeper Confidential podcast, where she highlights beekeepers from diverse backgrounds and experiences

Waggle Dancing for the World

Mandy will discuss how she has utilized local and global exposure to further highlight the work that she and other beekeepers are doing to help save the bees. With technology and media, and opportunities to participate in citizen science at our fingertips, making meaningful contributions to the global discussion has never more accessible! Through personal stories, Mandy will share how her beekeeping journey has reached surprising heights. Attendees will walk away with ideas on how they can get involved in citizen science initiatives, engage with their local beekeeping communities, and generate media buzz. 

Sam Comfort

After winning 6 hives in a poker game, Sam Comfort worked for several years in commercial beekeeping across America.
He started Anarchy Apiaries in 2005 to explore permaculture ideas of low input natural cycles.  He breeds queens from hardy survivors, experiments with splitting techniques, and messes around with hive designs.  So the mission is to 1) make more beehives than there are televisions, and 2) have a good time, all the time (with bees).  Anarchy Apiaries runs around 1000 hives that split seasonally into 1500+ mating nucs with no treatments, minimal feeding, and do-it-yourself hive boxes in New York and Florida.  Through teaching independent, biological beekeeping, he hopes to make it more affordable, approachable, and enjoyable; thus bring the means of production back to the beekeeper.

Sarah Red-Laird
Founder & Executive Director of The Bee Girl Organization

Sarah Red-Laird is the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl organization, a nonprofit with a mission to educate and inspire communities to conserve bees, their flowers, and our food. Bee Girl projects are focused on regenerative beekeeping, bee habitat research and education, and kids’ programs. She is a graduate of the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation with a degree in Resource Conservation, focused on community collaboration and environmental policy. Sarah also serves as the “Kids and Bees” program director for the American Beekeeping Federation. In addition, she is well into her tenure as the Western Apicultural Society’s 42nd president. To see her commitment to good policy and community collaborations realized, she also serves as president of the Northwest Farmers Union. When she is not tirelessly working with bees, beekeepers, kids, farmers and ranchers, and policymakers, Sarah loves to read historical fiction, work with rescued horses, ride her bike, hike in the hills, and see new places, things, and people

Solomon Parker

Solomon Parker started keeping bees in a very conventional way, by purchasing packages in 2003. Over the years, he has learned new methods and now no longer embraces conventional methods, seeking to educate a new generation of beekeepers in keeping bees in ways that make beekeeping more fun, less expensive, and by embracing natural processes for supporting the best and strongest bees. He has been keeping bees for over 16 years following a strictly treatment-free philosophy, learning the best methods for the commencement of a beekeeping hobby, for acquiring bees, for rapid expansion, for encouraging mite tolerance and resistance, for weathering mishaps, and for counting success in ways that don’t inevitably lead to failure. He has kept bees in three states, Oregon, Arkansas, and Colorado.  He is a nationally sought after speaker and has taught his methods from Alaska to Florida, California to New York, and many places in between. He is a native of the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, and currently resides in Gold Hill, Oregon where he experiments with small scale farming, sustainable living, permaculture, and continues looking for ways to innovate methods for the backyard and hobbyist beekeeper. He holds Associate’s Degrees in Agriculture and Science, and Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Civil Engineering.

Noah Wilson-Rich
Chief Scientific Officer— The Best Bees Company

Noah Wilson-Rich is a behavioral ecologist and published author. Noah was born in Manhattan, raised in Connecticut, and studied in Boston. He continues to be inspired by community gardens and underutilized spaces in New York, Boston, and cities around the world. Ironically, Noah was not fond of insects as a kid. He and his family were terrified at nearly every creepy-crawly thing passing by. It wasn’t until high school when Noah began investigating what all the anti-arthropodian sentiment was about. In an AP Environmental Science course, Noah participated in Project SEARCH, a state-run program in Connecticut that surveyed aquatic invertebrate species as bio-indicators for water pollution.

Noah continued his involvement in research as an undergraduate at Northeastern University from 2000-2005, and produced his first three publications during this time. Noah continued these investigations into the mysteries of the social insect world, as a graduate student at Tufts University from 2005-2011. As an academic scientist, Noah has held various adjunct faculty appointments in biology, including at Tufts University, Northeastern University, and Simmons College. He has given two talks at TEDxBoston, “Every City Needs Healthy Honey Bees” in 2012, and “Our Future with Bees” in 2014. His 2014 book, The Bee: A Natural History, published by Princeton University Press in the U.S. and Ivy Press, Ltd. in the U.K. and Europe, is now available wherever you like to buy your books.

Ariella Daly

Ariella Daly fell in love with bees in 2010, after a swarm of wild bees moved into the wall behind her bed. Soon after, she began top bar and warré beekeeping. Ariella teaches and speaks about natural beekeeping, the honey bee organism, and the human relationship to bees. She believes that through learning to listen to the bees, we are learning to heal our own disconnect from the natural world. Her work with bees is also informed by a decade studying European bee- shamanism with the Lyceum in England. This tradition holds the honey bee as its central motif and ally. Ariella works with bees on both a practical, oneiric and intuitive level, encouraging people to explore the world of bees through the use of all of our senses.

Erik Knutzen

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/12-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead (2008), which the New York Times calls “…the contemporary bible on the subject” and Making It (2011) a project book for post-consumer society.

In addition to their writing and blogging, Kelly and Erik teach and speak on the topics of self-reliance, urban gardening and sustainability.

Fonta Molyneaux 
Sun Queen School of Apiary Arts

Fonta Molyneaux is a Mother of three, Natural Beekeeper, Master Herbalist, and Organic Farmer. She founded Sun Queen School of Apiary Arts where she teaches bee centered natural beekeeping throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her family farm Wild Everlasting Farm & Honey islocated on 30 acres east of Eugene Oregon where she and her family cultivate a biodiverse farmstead with over 100 varieties of medicinal herbs and rare edible fruit trees and shrubs among her apiaries and native bee community. Wild Everlasting was honoredas The Oregon Bee Project 2019 flagship farm for Bee health and habitat preservation. Learn more about her work on instagram.

Anna Marie Despiris
Founder of

My love for Honeybees was only a recent discovery in my life. Six years ago while working at the River School Farm in Reno, NV my boss and mentor shared the magic of bees with me and I have been hooked ever since. However, as this journey continues to unfold in loving and supporting Honeybees, I find that this mission is deep rooted. My ancestral and cultural lineages have highly revered bees and I look back at many events in my life where bees were calling to me.

My vision is a community where beekeepers are in support of one another and information is exchanged freely. Where communities know who to call to safely remove a bee hive and rescue from extermination. A revitalization of this ancient practice that flows naturally as we return to the land and farming. Fun and engaging opportunities for children to learn of their importance and grow up loving Honeybees rather than fearing them.

You can work with me through my Bee Guardian Apprenticeship program in San Clemente and Anza, California.

Laura Bee Ferguson
Founding Director of the College of the Melissae

Laura Bee Ferguson is the Founding Director of the College of the Melissae, an online and on-the-ground sacred beekeeping school and activism platform based in Oregon. She is an educator, speaker, activist and draws on her dual degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies as well as 15 years as a beekeeper. She blends together cutting-edge natural beekeeping methodology and practices with animistic, spiritual and mythological perspectives.

Rob Keller
Founder | Napa Valley Bee Co.

While earning his MFA at UC Davis, an interest in entomology emerged as Rob incorporated bees into his art practice, and since then Apismellifera has been his main focus. Rolling full circle, he eventually found himself back at UCD in their Master Beekeeping Program and has become an inspirational leader and educator of regenerative beekeeping in Northern California.His love for art and attention to aesthetics remain strong, and it is clearly seen in the detail of his custom made hives and his engaging photo images. To grow new stewards of the profession, Rob teaches beekeeping at Napa Valley Adult School as well as adolescents at St. Helena Montessori. His strength of character and conviction provides all who are in his presence with numerous ah ha moments and much laughter. He is available for speaking engagements, teaching seminars and sharing a pint after a day of hive dives. Rob lives in downtown Napa with his 14 year old son Davis, where he is surrounded by music, creativity and a great community of friends who share in his passion for life and a good buzz.

Matt Reed

Bee Built | Bee Thinking

Matt Reed is the founder of Bee Thinking, director of Bee Built, consultant to businesses for digital and operational strategy, and an aspiring photographer. In 2008, Bee Thinking grew from his garage to a multi-million dollar company with over 50 employees by 2016. 

Paul Cronshaw
Director of Operations of the Santa Barbara Beekeeper?s Association

Paul Cronshaw (“The Beeman”) has been a keeper of honey bees in Santa Barbara County since he caught “bee fever” as a senior at Santa Barbara High School in 1971. He set up his first hive on the roof of his parent?s house, purchased his first hive equip-ment from Sears Suburban Farm and Ranch Catalog, and ordered a package of bees from Mississippi.

Since then he has been following his passion for honey bees by promoting treatment-free beekeeping in the urban beekeeping environment. He currently serves as Director of Operations of the Santa Barbara Beekeeper?s Association ( where he manages apiaries in Santa Barbara, conducts apiary meetups, teaches and mentors urban beekeepers in the Beginning Backyard Beekeeping (B3) classes, high school students in the SweetStart Program, and gives school and event presentations about honey bees and apiculture.

He has co-starred and consulted in several video productions including National Geo-graphic’s “ Jobs that Bite” , and a film on venom therapy: http://www.venomtherapyfilm.-com/. He has been interviewed for a number of magazine articles: (#1, #2, #3) and ra-dio talk shows. He is also a vegan beekeeper and has appeared on this podcast. 

Rob & Chelsea McFarland
Founders of HoneyLove, Authors of Save the Bees

Rob and Chelsea McFarland are the husband and wife team behind Los Angeles based 501(c)3 non-profit and co-authors of “Save The Bees with Natural Backyard Hives”. HoneyLove has a thriving social network with more than 40,000 Facebook followers and a full calendar of educational and community-based events. HoneyLove has been profiled by many publications including the Associated Press, LA Times, The Christian Science Monitor, LA Weekly and Sunset Magazine. The Disney Channel, Ford Motors and YouTube’s SoulPancake and Rhett & Link have also featured HoneyLove in video segments.
View more about HoneyLove here:

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: Schedule PDF coming soon!
* General Session Presentation (GSP)
* Special Interest Group — Breakout Session (SIG)


7:15 – CHECK-IN
8:00 – WELCOME
8:05 – DR. MAY BERENBAUM: Three Centuries of Pesticides (GSP)
9:00 – ERIK KNUTZEN: The Great Internet Bee Scam (SIG)
Re-envisioning Apiculture in a Time of Crisis (GSP)
What the Science Does and Doesn’t Say About Treatment-Free Beekeeping. (SIG)
10:45 – FONTA MOLYNEAUX: Beekeeping for Botanists  (GSP)

1:15 – SARAH RED-LAIRD: Adventures in Dirt & Honey (GSP)   
Fifty Years A Beek: Best Beekeeping Lessons & Tips (SIG)
2:30 – LAURA BEE FERGUSON: Bee-Centricity Through the Ages (GSP)
Can Mushrooms Save The Honeybee? (SIG)
3:45 – NOAH WILSON-RICH: Our Future with Bees: Research Update (GSP)
4:00 – MANDY SHAW: Waggle Dancing for the World (SIG)


7:15 – CHECK-IN
8:00 – WELCOME
8:05 – SOLOMON PARKER: Relaxed Management Beekeeping (GSP)
8:30 – MAX WONG: Max Does Wax! (SIG)
9:30 – MATT REED:
Failure: How the Rise and Fall of Bee Thinking Changed My Life (GSP)   
9:45 – SARAH RED-LAIRD: Building a Regenerative Bee Pasture (SIG)
10:45 – LES CROWDER:
The Myth of the Mite Bomb (GSP) 

LUNCH BREAK                             
1:00 – SAM COMFORT: The One Bee Revolution (GSP)
1:15 –  ANNA MARIE DESPIRIS: Honey Bees As Community Builders (SIG)
2:30 – MICHAEL BUSH: The Practical Beekeeper: Four Easy Steps of Lazy Beekeeping with Bees (GSP)
2:30 – ARIELLA DALYBees as a Bridge: Restoring Humans’ Relationship (SIG)
3:45 – ROB KELLER: Bring Your A Game If You Want To Keep Bees (SIG)
5:00 – CLOSING REMARKS          

*Schedule subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances bee-yond our control.                                                                                              

Interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor?
Got a cool bee gadget to sell? A new book? An inventive hive design? Want to show your support to the world? We’d love to have you as a vendor or sponsor at our two-day conference of people who are crazy about bees. This year’s Natural Beekeeping Conference will be one of the largest gatherings of natural beekeepers in the country! Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with our specialized group of influencers.
Email us today to join: or call (424) 625-8233

Watch some videos from our speakers!


We would love to encourage everyone to park at the Metro stop near your home / hotel and take the train in!

Stay tuned… more details coming soon!