Crazy Little Bee Lady

Sunderland, North East England, United Kingdom

I’ve heard about emotional support animals before, but a colony of bees is a first for me, though as a former beekeeper, I can understand why. For Crazy Little Bee Lady, the love of bees and insects began when she was young and mesmerised by the various stories passed through generations and cultures. During some emotional time in her teens, she asked her mum for a pet duck, a request refused. The compromise was a nucleus of bees, a rather strange but perfectly appropriate birthday present for Rachel. Living with mental health issues isn’t easy, and the bees provide a calming hobby. Upon opening the hive to inspect the bees, problems and stresses blur away as focus takes over; the sweet smell and meditative buzz of the colony is a grounding and therapeutic experience, with mutual respect between the bees and the beekeeper. Any mistakes and loss of focus could be painful lessons. For Rachel, bees have always provided a space where nothing else mattered. Being in an urban environment, the bees have to forage among small yards on a dense housing estate, often relying on inexperienced gardeners potentially using pesticides and herbicides. Her social media presence educates about this issue; with more land disappearing to human infrastructure, the forage areas are threatened. Some of the products she creates (chocolate honey, anyone?) are intended for sale, however, purposely at a lower price so they are accessible to all.

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.