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Bee Experiences Create Buzz and Protect a Vital Resource

By Laurie Haynes 03/05/2020

Bees play a vital role in the Golden State’s agricultural and culinary industries, and make possible California's verdant landscapes and iconic wildflower super blooms. Sadly, bees populations are struggling. The bright side is that the growing trend in bee tourism is creating awareness, and directly increases bee populations when tourism businesses host colonies onsite. Industry partners across the state are incorporating bee experiences to educate guests and give them a new way to experience their destinations. 

Here are just a few of the growing number of experiences California businesses have created to show off the extraordinary lives of bees: 

Beekeeping and Honey Tasting at Ojai Valley Inn 
At Ojai Valley Inn, guests can explore the life of an apiarist with a one-of-a-kind beekeeping and honey tasting experience. The resident beekeeper guides guests to the apiary to showcase the extraordinary lives of the European honey bee colonies that live there. Guests wear protective bee suits as they discover how a hive is formed, how bees choose a new queen, and of course, how honey is made. The experience is educational and flavorful, concluding with a tasting of local raw honey  pollinated from plants such as avocado, eucalyptus, sumac and citrus. The experience allows guests to gain an appreciation of the many flavors made possible by these busy pollinators.

Bee Happy at Carmel Valley Ranch 
Guests at Carmel Valley Ranch can explore the on-site colonies of 250,000 Italian honey bees with the Bee Happy experience. Bee experts  lead engaging activities covering hive science, honey tasting, and much more. The experience showcases the ways Carmel Valley Ranch supports the bees and the extensive connections that exist between plants and pollinators. 

The “Bee Department” at Lazy Acres Natural Market 
Several of the SoCal Lazy Acres Natural Market grocery stores and eateries feature a live observation honey bee hive, where guests can see the incredible bee colony up close in the market. Being that these pollinators are vitally important to food and agriculture, the observation hive allows guests to truly appreciate the work of bees within a natural food market setting. In the Bee Department, guests can also explore a variety of natural bee products such as honey, honeycomb, and beeswax.

Play Beekeeper for a Day at Calistoga Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection 
Fitted with protective face coverings, guests at Calistoga Ranch can see the on-site beehive where 60,000 bees buzz each day. The resident beekeeper explains how bees pollinate flowers and vegetables throughout the iconic Napa Valley, and the overarching importance of sustainability efforts for bees. Ingredients used in Calistoga Ranch’s culinary offerings are often complemented with delectable honey from the on-site hive, allowing guests to truly experience the enchanting work of bees. 

California Honey Festival in Historic Downtown Woodland
The California Honey Festival will take place in Woodland on May 2, 2020 with vendors from across the region. The family-friendly festival inspires visitors to support honey bees and their impact on food diversity through education, entertainment, and delicious honey tasting experiences. Visitors can explore the Honey Lab located in the UC Davis festival area to learn about the honey making process, the life cycle of a bee, the viruses and insects that can threaten bees, and much more. Other festival experiences will include the Pollinator Garden, the Kid Zone, the Cooking Demo Stage, and the Beer Mead Garden.

Photo credit: Ojai Valley Inn

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