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Save the Bees BOOK!

Save The Bees Book

We are so excited!! Rob & Chelsea McFarland (founders of HoneyLove) WROTE A BEEKEEPING BOOK! It’s a great primer for anyone interested in treatment-free beekeeping, and a good read for established beekeepers.

Learn more here and SPREAD THE BUZZ!


Check out some of the book reviews!

Michael Bush author of THE PRACTICAL BEEKEEPER:
“Rob and Chelsea have a beautiful positive energy that shines out in all their work, including this book. The writing is lyrical, detailed, informative and practical. Save the Bees starts from the perspective of the complete beginner and offers insight and instruction in a very readable, understandable and entertaining way with gorgeous pictures to illustrate it. But best of all, it’s about how to keep bees naturally – no treatments, no chemicals. This is a delightful and insightful book from delightful and insightful people.”

Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, THE BEST BEES COMPANY and author of THE BEE:
“What a fantastic book! It’s important, accessible, accurate, enjoyable and filled with experience. Anybody serious about modern beekeeping should read this.”

The Easy and Treatment-Free Way to Attract and Keep Healthy Bees
By Rob and Chelsea McFarland, Founders of 

From 1947 to present day, the number of honeybee colonies has declined by more than a whopping 50 percent. Bees and other pollinators are one of the most critical components to our food supply – if they disappear, so do we.

That jarring statistic, paired with an awe-inspiring and completely serendipitous encounter with a swarm of honeybees one afternoon, was enough for Rob and Chelsea McFarland to leave their stressful lives running a technology start-up and dive into the world of honeybees. Like Rob and Chelsea like to say, “You don’t choose to be a beekeeper, the bees choose you.”

Their chance encounter led to forays in urban beekeeping, and eventually, to running HoneyLove, a non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring urban beekeeping to save the bees for future generations. Now, SAVE THE BEES WITH NATURAL BACKYARD HIVES is an extension of that philosophy. It’s Rob and Chelsea sharing all the wisdom from the ancient practice of beekeeping in a way that is fresh, modern, and easy for anyone to do.

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives breaks down the complexity of beekeeping so you can learn step-by-step how to acquire a colony, care for it, and reap the reward – both for you and future generations. Like Rob and Chelsea write in the book’s introduction, “We figured that if we could inspire people living in cities around the world to welcome bees and beekeepers into their communities, we could help clean up our urban environments, promote sustainable living, advance urban agriculture and empower people with the idea that they can make a difference in their own backyards.”

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives provides a how-to primer on an alternative approach to the established, chemical-based way of beekeeping. This all-natural approach is laid out in the first chapter, Principles of Treatment – Free Beekeeping and How it Will Save the Bees. Treatment-free beekeepers believe that chemicals make bees more vulnerable to the very problems like mites and microbes they were aimed at solving, which is why this philosophy is fundamental to the rest of the book.

From there, the book progresses with chapters: Beekeeping Basics, Acquiring Honeybees is Simple, and Getting to Know Your Superorganisms. In chapter five, Bee Success, Rob and Chelsea explain how to be aware of common problems (and how to fix them, too). They provide equipment checklists; explain how to inspect for disease, and of course, how to keep the Queen happy.

Other critical chapters include, Nectar Flow, Beebread and What to Feed Your Bees, with useful information on a healthy diet, the baggie feeder approach, and tips on planting pollinator forage. Now, after eight other chapters for success, Rob and Chelsea get to one of the many rewards of beekeeping: the Honey Harvest chapter. They include sections on escape boards for honey extraction, photo diagrams of the bottling process, and even notes on honey tasting and variation.

One of the biggest takeaways from Save the Bees is that the art of beekeeping and bee culture is an evolving education, which is why Rob and Chelsea end the book by saying, “My hope is that you will continue to read and learn about bees, take in all kinds of perspectives, resist confirmation bias and be open to ideas about solutions even if they challenge what you think you know.”

Available online through the retailers below and wherever books are sold:


Barnes & Noble:

Google Play:






Book Depository:

Read full story · Posted in News, Yay Bees

New video on our YouTube Channel!

Click here to subscribe to HoneyLove on YouTube!!

Our goal is to get 10,000 subscribers by this year’s NATIONAL HONEY BEE DAY (August 2014)—Please help us spread the word by sharing this link:

Big THANK YOU to She Shoots. He Scores. for producing this sweet little video on HoneyLove Co-Founder Chelsea McFarland as part of their Google funded INSIDE JOB series featuring “women with amazing and inspirational jobs”!
Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, HoneyLove HQ, HoneyLove Interviews

HoneyLove nominated for the GOOD 100


Login and vote for HoneyLove HERE!
Click the little blue “It’s Good!” triangle on their site!

Illustration by Lauren Tamaki
I first met Rob McFarland while working at a tech startup in Venice, Calif. One day, not long after our company had moved into a new office, a few co-workers discovered a beehive in the alley behind the parking lot. While someone else wanted to tell the office to call pest control and have it removed, Rob had other plans. He explained about the mass die-offs of bees around the globe, how human survival and food production rely on bees, and the irony of how the urban environment is one of the last havens for these creatures because fewer pesticides are used in the city. Rob came into the office in full beekeeping garb the next day, armed with a cardboard box and lid to help remove the hive and find it a new home.  It wasn’t the first time he had done something like this. Several months earlier, Rob and his wife Chelsea called a beekeeper to relocate a neighbor’s unwanted hive into their backyard and started championing the legalization of urban beekeeping in Los Angeles.
Rob and Chelsea started a nonprofit named HoneyLove, after their nicknames for each other. HoneyLove’s mission is to protect honeybees, legalize urban beekeeping, and encourage and educate new urban beekeepers. They started with town halls and city council meetings, but, as with anything Rob and Chelsea seem to do, they have brought their creative touch to it, utilizing photo booths, dance videos, and an annual, yellow-tie formal to spread their message. And it’s working. In the three short years they have been running HoneyLove, Rob and Chelsea have convinced more than 20 neighborhood councils to send letters of support to the city to legalize beekeeping in L.A., held dozens of events, trained hundreds of new beekeepers, and facilitated the rescue of hundreds of hives. In the next year, they are hoping to increase their education reach to more people to get urban beekeeping officially legalized in L.A.  I nominated Rob and Chelsea for the GOOD 100 because they took an issue—the global, mass die-off of bees—that felt out of reach and inaccessible, and they did something tangible and creative about it.
Paris Marron is a Product Manager at GOOD.
Gap has teamed up with GOOD to celebrate the GOOD 100, our annual round-up of individuals at the cutting-edge of creative impact. Gap + GOOD are challenging you to join in. We all have something to offer. #letsdomore



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Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, Yay Bees

LA WEEKLY: “Could L.A. Become a Honeybee Mecca?”

By Gendy Alimurung

LA Weekly Article

Look inside a plain wood box, in a truck, in the driveway of Rob and Chelsea McFarland’s house on certain spring nights, and you will see them. Bees.

How did they get there? Turn back the clock two years, to another season, another swarm. This one arrived in the afternoon while Rob was working in the backyard — one bee at first, then thousands, clustered into a ball the size of two footballs. It landed in a tree.

Instead of killing the bees, Rob called a group he’d read about online, which “rescues” them: the Backwards Beekeepers. That evening, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans and no protective suit, a volunteer from the group clipped the branch of bees, dropped it into a cardboard box and sealed it up. Rob, now 33, and wife Chelsea, 31, were astounded. “It revealed to me the gentle nature of bees,” Rob says.

Soon he started going on rescues, too — as many as three a day. He climbed a tangerine tree in the middle of the night and brought down the biggest open-air hive Chelsea had ever seen. With a frenzied smile, Rob gripped the severed branch with massive honeycombs dangling off it — a 60-pound lollipop of bees. Chelsea snapped a picture.

Then the dawning realization: “Where the hell do we put them?” It is a recurring question that will consume their next few days, then months, then years.

The tangerine tree hive sat on their roof for a spell. The McFarlands live in a modest house in the Del Rey neighborhood, a narrow, two-mile strip that cleaves Culver City from Mar Vista. They don’t exactly have a lot of space. And what kind of neighbor welcomes a swarm?

By some miracle, after weeks of shlepping hives across the city — after the crazy logistics of matching up people who had bees but didn’t want them with people who want bees but didn’t have them — Chelsea secured a spot: a small, scrubby hilltop in agrarian Moorpark, overlooking an organic farm owned by a friend of a friend. The McFarlands christened the hilltop the HoneyLove Sanctuary.

Today it hosts 16 hives in colorful wood boxes, each from somewhere around L.A., rescued from water meters and birdhouses and compost bins, places Rob can’t recall anymore.

“Each one of these is a family,” Chelsea says. “We’re usually rushing to beat the exterminator out there.”

For the past two years, the McFarlands’ house has been a halfway home for rescued bees. Rob, a YouTube channel manager, rescues them after work in the evenings, and the bees spend the night in his truck on the driveway until he can shuttle them up to the hilltop in the morning.

You do not choose to become obsessed. As anyone who has ever fallen in love with this insect says, “The bees choose you.”

“We always kind of have bees at our place,” Chelsea admits, with a sheepish grin.

LA Weekly frame

Commercial bees — the ones used to pollinate crops in the agriculture industry — are dying off in record numbers, presenting a serious crisis to global food production. Yet in urban areas, bees thrive. No pesticides or monocrops mean healthy living conditions. As improbable as it sounds, cities like Los Angeles may be the bees’ best hope for survival.

But there’s a catch.

Urban beekeeping is legal in New York, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Vancouver. In New York and San Francisco, people keep hives on the roofs of luxury hotels and apartment buildings.

In Los Angeles, however, bees exist in a legal gray area. The county allows them. But the city has no laws specifically pertaining to urban beekeeping. Currently, if bees are found on public property, the city’s only option is to exterminate them. As a result, the past few years have seen the emergence of groups like the Backwards Beekeepers, which are devoted to rescuing and keeping these wild swarms of so-called “feral” hives within city limits.

The Backwards Beekeepers represent a whole new kind of thinking about bees. While older, established groups frown on feral hives, the Backwards Beekeepers see them as the way of the future. Where traditional bee clubs use pesticides and antibiotics to help struggling bee populations, the Backwards Beekeepers favor organic, “natural” methods. The city, in a Backwards Beekeeper’s eyes, is a bee’s ideal stomping ground.

Yet as long as the rules about keeping hives on private property are anyone’s guess, beekeepers live in fear. No one has been prosecuted, but that doesn’t seem like security enough. And so Rob and Chelsea McFarland have been working to change the city’s codes one neighborhood group at a time.

When the McFarlands consulted beekeepers in Seattle, they were advised to build support from the ground up. So the McFarlands formed a nonprofit foundation, HoneyLove, and they do endless events and outreach: wax symposiums, honey tastings, mead workshops, pollen parties, art shows, festivals, concerts, garden tours, grocery consortiums, school visits, equipment demonstrations, film screenings, radio shows, television appearances, guest lectures and video blogging. They organized a four-month feasibility study with the Mar Vista Neighborhood Council, which includes surveys with residents, testimony from a pediatric pulmonologist on the effects of bee stings and, for a little bedtime reading, 75 scholarly articles on beekeeping.

In the process, their small social circle has become a massive one; the bees opened up a community for them in a way that nothing had before. “You’d be amazed at how many people have a particular interest in bees for one reason or another,” Rob says.

How does someone get into bees? For the McFarlands, the more salient question is, how did they manage so long without bees?

The couple is well versed in the art of taking up causes. Previously they championed orangutans. But orangutans were an abstraction, thousands of miles away in the forests of Borneo. Bees were literally right in their backyard.

Chelsea, a video editor and something of a natural-born cheerleader, wanted to fix their bad rep. “You see a swarm coming, and it’s, like, ‘Killer bees! Run for the hills!’?” she says. “But actually it’s the least aggressive a bee will ever be. Because they have nothing to defend. They’re all homeless. They have no honey. They have no babies.”

Rob, who is quiet and thoughtful, with a mind prone to drawing connections, saw the intrinsic fascination of the insect itself. There were infinite, engrossing facts to learn. Did you know that bees see in ultraviolet light, so flowers look like neon signs to them? Did you know that bees are essentially plants’ way of having sex?

Collecting signatures at the Mar Vista Farmers Market one morning, they meet Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is there picking up greens for his turkeys and chickens and finches and cockatiels… [continue reading article via]

LA Weekly Paper

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz

Thanks for the sweet blog and tweet TEETOO! We love your work too!

Honeylove, written by our dear friends Rob and Chelsea McFarland is another other blog I’m loving these days. Are these two adorable or what? Not only are they incredibly good looking, they are both multi-talented and super sweet. Rob and Chelsea post interesting bee related facts, videos and cute pictures on Honeylove  almost daily…”  

- Click here to read the full post on Teetoo’s site

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