In the last few years, bees have gone from “Quick, grab the flyswatter,” to “Oh, don’t pick those flowers. The bees love them.” Beekeepers are springing up everywhere: from urban apartment complexes to suburban backyards.
Chances are, you know someone (or are someone) who would enjoy a unique bee-related gift.
But there’s a challenge: the beekeeping movement has values that are in direct opposition to many Black-Friday-purchased, made-in-China sweaters or gift sets. There’s an intentional and satisfying slowness to beekeeping, a learned technique that counters the instant gratification of the Amazon 1-Click.
Many beekeepers devote their time and care to their bees, without expecting anything in return. You probably groaned if you pulled "gifts for bee keepers" in the gift exchange.
So what’s a holiday shopper to do? Check out this list for some bee-related holiday shopping and help bring a smile to your favorite beekeeper’s face.
1. Pesticide-Free Plants & A Day of Planting Assistance
Beekeepers are likely to be picky about the plants in their garden. A 2014 study found that nursery plants in some major retailers are treated with pesticides that are harmful to bees and other insects. While retailers promised to label pesticide-treated plants, it’s likely that your favorite beekeeper has a favorite pesticide-free nursery.
You might need to do some detective work to find it, and present them with a gift certificate (along with a redeemable coupon for planting assistance). Your gift will bloom, and provide substance for bees, long after the latest holiday gadget has become outdated. Plus, you’ll make a special memory planting together.
2. Invitation to an Evening of Honey-Tasting & Bee Fun
There’s no better gift than a shared experience, especially when the gift-giver makes a special effort to incorporate favorite activities of their loved one. Invite your beekeeper over with a beautiful bee-themed card.
Order a honey flight and pair it with your favorite cheeses, breads, and finger foods. Your beekeeper will be able to try honey from different regions, and compare it to the honey their bees produce. Go the extra mile, and order some fun bee straws for your beekeeper’s favorite drink. For entertainment, buy a copy of Vanishing of the Bees, a highly rated documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder.
Best of all: more beekeepers would be merrier for this gift. Send each home with a few honey sticks to remember your special evening.
3. Hive Help
Beekeepers will likely be particular about the type of equipment that they use in their beekeeping operation, so be careful (and do your research) if you are going to buy anything for them to use. One gadget that comes highly recommended by our beekeeping team is a heated knife for uncapping honeycomb, which will make it easier for your beekeeper to unlock the precious fruits of the bees’ labors with ease.
If you aren’t quite brave enough to splurge on beekeeping equipment, a coupon for a day of “Hive Help” will likely be very appreciated. Depending on the type of beehive your beekeeper uses to house his or her bees, heavy lifting may be a regular part of their beekeeping operation. A second pair of arms will be make the work easier, and your beekeeper will enjoy sharing the ins and outs of their beekeeping operation with you. Just make sure they have an extra beekeeping suit!
4. Essential Oils for the Beehive & Beyond
Some beekeepers use essential oils in their beehives to keep their beehives healthy. Do a little gentle prying to see if your beekeeper uses them. If so, you’ve got a great gift idea: Good-quality essential oils are a luxurious item. They make a lovely gift both for the beehive and for all kinds of uses in the home. Add a few drops for relaxing bath, for scenting candles, or in a diffuser.
5. Beekeeping Courses
If your favorite beekeeper is new to the hobby, or looking to make some beekeeper friends, consider researching a beekeeping course in your area. Check out local beekeeping groups for recommendations, and offer to join your friend and learn about bees together.
6. Beekeeping Mentorship
If you are an experienced beekeeper yourself, gift your beekeeping friends “A Year of Mentorship,” or a year of availability to answer all bee-related questions, help inspect hives, and harvest honey. Not only will you grow closer with your friend, you will pass along your hard-earned beekeeping knowledge to someone who will truly appreciate it!
7. Bee Gifts for the Reader & Writer
Books make excellent gifts for beekeepers: they are eager learners, and there is always more to learn about bees. Check out “A Beekeeper’s Bible,” for equal parts beauty, history and practical information.
Record keeping is immensely important in beekeeping. Make it easier on your favorite beekeeper with “The Beekeeper’s Journal,” a place for them to share all of their daily bee-related notes, observations, and To-Do lists.
While some believe that handwritten notes are outdated, time-consuming, and not as effective as e-mail, my guess is that most beekeepers don’t fall into the category. The beekeepers I know have a deep appreciation of handwritten thank-you notes, or sending thoughtful messages through snail mail. Gift them a supply of beautiful bee-themed stationary for all their letter-writing needs.
8. Bee Gifts for the Countertop
With all the honey that beekeepers produce, it’s possible that your beekeeper is equal parts bee caregiver and honey recipe developer. This gorgeous honey pot brightens up any kitchen, and stores honey within easy reach.
If your beekeeper loves to entertain, check out this set of elegant bee tumblers. Sturdy, beautiful, and bee-themed: they are perfect for many uses.
9. Bee Gifts on a Budget
So, what if you are really on a budget this year, and live too far away from your beekeeping friend to participate in any beekeeping activities? It’s time to “re-gift.” While many people might scoff at re-gifting, I actually think it can be a great way to find new uses for unneeded items. Beekeepers are always looking for extra jars to store honey and wax. Save them a trip to the store by saving and carefully cleaning all of your jars. Send them along with some trendy and inexpensive jar labels. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated!
Whatever gift you choose for your favorite beekeeper, give it with love, without expecting anything in return. After all, that’s what the bees do.
* Full disclosure! If you purchase some of these items, you help PerfectBee keep the lights on. But a) we do think these are neat and fun gift suggestions for beekeepers anyway and b) we're a grateful lot and appreciate it.