As the mother of two girls, three dogs, one cat and two fish, Megan Lucy Neal has plenty of people and pets to look after. But when it came to adding a few thousand more members to the family, she welcomed them with open arms (wearing gloves, of course)! Being a beekeeper takes a lot of work, but comes with many rewards. Keep reading to get all the buzz straight from Megan Lucy.
What made you catch the beekeeping buzz?
During Elementary school, I have a vivid memory of watching a bee documentary. The video showcased the infamous Bee Waggle Dance. When a scout bee finds a new source of food, she returns to the hive to perform her special dance to show the foragers where to go. After watching that documentary, I’ve always loved bees. Such interesting creatures with an amazing life span. Each bee plays an integral role in keeping the hive alive, thriving and in harmony. They really are one of God’s most amazing creatures.
While I was researching beekeeping, I loved learning about how different cultures have cherished, or even worshiped, the honeybee for thousands of years. I appreciate the relationship that has evolved between humans and bees. My relationship with my hive makes me feel connected to nature, God and also our ancestors.
How do you fit beekeeping into your busy schedule?
Beekeeping does take a lot of research. Before I purchased the hive, I started reading books and articles to educate myself and prepare for the hive. I did my reading research at night after the kids were asleep for my “me-time” in the evenings. There are also tons of helpful YouTube videos online from professional beekeepers. My kids and I love watching them together.
Actually, owning one or two hives isn’t that much of a time constraint. During the summer I check on them every other week to ensure they are healthy and functioning properly. The less you disturb the hive, the better. During the winter, I will only open the top lid once a month or less to place in pollen patties to supplement their food source during the cold weather.
The most time intensive project will be harvesting honey, which is so much fun! After I extract the frames from the hive, we make it a family affair to remove the honey from the combs.
Being a mom of two small ones, I try to keep them as involved as I can. When the bees are in a good humor, I allow for them to wear protective gear and be my assistants. I really enjoy teaching them about nature and the harmony of the hive.
How does beekeeping help you as an ad person?
When I am in the beehive, it is a very peaceful time for me. I am able to re-center my aura and enjoy my connection with nature, earth and God. The bees can sense that I am not a threat, but a peaceful presence just moving things around. Using this time to clear my head, helps me become a better mom, wife and co-worker. I am able to reprioritize my tasks and ready to tackle new challenges in the day.
Are there any other hobbies or side hustles you dream about trying in the future?
When I have four or five strong hives, I plan to start creating Nucs and queens. Nucs are small honeybee colonies created from larger colonies. The term refers both to the smaller size box and the colony of honeybees within it.
Are there any people or brands or business owners that inspire you?
I have enjoyed meeting the local beekeepers in my area. Before COVID, they would meet once a month to discuss beekeeping, provide educational speakers and training classes for beekeepers of all experiences. However, social distancing hasn’t stopped them from providing information to the local beekeepers. Once a month, they send out educational videos along with articles and resources for the group. It is so nice to have this group as a resource—even during challenging times. These individuals are true entrepreneurs. There is a lot of hard work to make a successful career out of beekeeping. I admire their resourcefulness, dedication and caring hearts. My interactions with them are quite humbling, and often remind me of challenges small business owners face. When the kids are a bit older, I would like to become more involved in the chapter.
What do you love most about being a beekeeper?
My hive is part of our family. It may sound strange, but I definitely have a relationship and emotional connection with my bees. They are living creatures that need care and maintenance to thrive. I’ve only been stung once, so I feel like they appreciate me as much as I appreciate them.
What’s your end goal?
Short term, this is a fun hobby for me. Long term, I would like to have several hives and sell honey, wax, queens and nucs (starter beehives) when my husband and I retire.