I think I’m in the minority when I say that I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day. Even as a single lady with no romantic candlelit dinners on the horizon, I ignored the eye-rolls of my friends while I decorated homemade cards and made chocolate cupcakes. I smiled at couples taking affectionate pictures, and helped grateful last-minute shoppers find the perfect rose bouquet.
Now, as a budding beekeeper, I have even more reason to enjoy this holiday of love.
Believe it or not, beekeeping has long been associated with love. Ancient Egyptian gods of love were thought to sweeten honey and protect beekeepers. You can also pair them with a few honey sticks from your local honey seller for an extra sweet treat for your honey or for kids of all ages. And St. Valentine represents more than just Hallmark cards and candy hearts: he’s also the patron saint of beekeeping.
This makes sense to me, because beekeeping is a hobby entrenched in respect, love, and adoration for other beings.
What better day to celebrate love, friendship, and beekeeping? Here are 9 ways to mark the day for bee-lovers and beekeepers alike.
1. Skip The Bouquet, and Go For The Seeds
While the dreary month of February is always a great time to brighten up a house with a bouquet of fresh flowers, most beekeepers would much rather have bee-friendly blooms to enjoy in the spring. Check out seed catalogs and pesticide-free nurseries instead of the conventional vase of red roses. Consider gifting seeds for nectar-rich flowers like geraniums, poppies, or sunflowers, or bee-friendly herbs like lavender or sage.
To learn about the best bee plants for your region, visit a regional botanic garden or nursery. Seeds may be an unconventional bouquet, but your beekeeper will no doubt appreciate your thoughtful gesture for their bees!
2. Make Your Own Bee Valentines
Valentine’s day is the perfect time to write notes of gratitude to your loved ones, and you don’t need to spend a week’s salary at the card store to do it. Check out free, printable bee Valentines from Polkadot Chair.
You could jazz these up with candy or pencils, or simply use them as a vehicle for your handwritten note. Best of all, you can print them at home and decorate them however you like (or not at all!)
3. Be Sweet to Yourself This Year
Take advantage of two products given to us by bees, propolis and honey, in one relieving face mask. It can replenish moisture to even the most stressed skin. Easy to use application and all natural ingredients make it easy to keep your self-care skincare routine going.
Don’t let February’s cold & dry weather turn your smile upside-down, keep your lips protected instead this Valentine’s Day. Your smile will thank you when you pick up some surprisingly affordable beeswax lip balm. This pack comes with a whole hive’s worth, 6 tubes to be exact. That might just be enough to share one with your favorite beekeeper, too(if they’re lucky!).
4. Care For Your Beekeeper’s Hands
Beekeeping hands definitely take a beating. Between stings, lifting heavy beehives, gardening, and handling hot hive tools, bee-loving hands are likely to have a sore or two.
To help keep your honey’s hands a little safer this bee season, surprise them with a new pair of these soft yet protective beekeeping gloves.
Treat your beekeeper (or yourself!) with a Burt’s Bees Hand Repair gift set, complete with beeswax hand cream for total moisturizing power.
5. Start a New Hobby With Your Honey
No gift is better than time spent together, and one of the best ways to spend time with your loved one is over a shared hobby. Plus, two bodies are better than one when it comes to planting, moving hives, and extracting honey. Involve your sweetheart in your beekeeping hobby (or offer to help in one of their favorite hobbies).
If you need help getting started, check out PerfectBee Colony Membership to get your shared hobby off to a wonderful start. We have many members who share their hobby with their other halves!
Other ideas: consider a membership to a local art museum, botanical garden, or theater. Making memories (and honey) together is an investment in a shared future.
6. A Honeyed Breakfast in Bed
There is a plethora of delicious breakfasts to make with some special, local honey.
From honey-and-fruit topped yogurt, to banana-honey muffins, to honey-nut scones, it’s possible to use your bee by-products to make a breakfast of epic proportions. MyRecipes has an interesting list of ideas to get you started.
If you haven’t started to reap the rewards of your bees yet, visit a local beekeeper or specialty food store. With a little effort, you can make a breakfast to remember while your loved one enjoys a well-deserved relaxing morning in bed, dreaming of spring and being able to visit their bees.
7. Bee-Friendly Candlelit Dinner
No Valentine’s Day list would be complete without the classic Valentine’s Day evening: a homemade dinner. The trick is to adapt the standard model with bee-related touches. You’ll get extra points for your thoughtfulness and going the extra mile, I promise.
Start the evening off with a honey tasting (check out this gorgeous one from Bee Raw), and don’t forget to pair the honey with cheeses and crusty breads. Light some hand-poured beeswax candles to set the mood, and wow your sweetheart with a meal made with bee-produced products.
Considering that bees help produce about seventy out of the top 100 human-food crops, , a bee themed dinner shouldn’t be too big of a challenge.
You can even pair your meal with some mead, also known as honey-wine. It’s an age-old fermented beverage that many beekeepers brew themselves from their own honey. If you’ve never tried mead before, its flavor is very sweet like honey, and quite different from many other “wines”. After the first sip, your dinner partner will fall in love with this drink!
Don’t forget dessert: try this honey-lemon custard with fruit. This refreshing, easy to make treat will finish your dinner off on a sweet note.
8. Decorate with Bees
For Valentine’s Day, help your loved one make their space a reflection of their love for bees. Framed art, photographs, or hanging beekeeping mementos will brighten their days. Whether you are purchasing for their home, office, or gardening shed, they are sure to appreciate your gift and support of their buzz-worthy love.
Check out this poster or this one. Or maybe just frame a few photographs of your loved one’s beekeeping operation. Especially in the slow winter months, they will appreciate the visual reminder of their busy, honey-producing beehives in the height of summer.
Or, take the functional route and give your beekeeper the gift of great note-taking. A notepad like the “Little Giant” Beekeeper’s Log will help your favorite beek with better planning and care of their hives through every season.
9. Volunteer to Show Love
Caring for bees reminds us of the connectivity of living things. While we may try to exist in our separate worlds, we need each other. For Valentine’s Day, show love and care for those who need it most. Many homeless shelters, food kitchens, and domestic violence shelters have Valentine’s Day fundraising or volunteering events.
While these ideas can be dependent on public health-related precautions, there are generally creative ways to help. Just be sure to check in advance what any organization might appreciate and support.
A great way to contribute to your ecosystem in a way that also helps many of our pollinators is to check out the resources of Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Volunteer Program. Start researching the many ways that you can help your local bees & butterflies today.
You can also write notes to caregivers, make cards for nursing home residents, or bake cookies for your local volunteer fire department.
Write a note to the members of our wonderful military, to let them know that they’re sweet too!
Think about your children’s teachers, your friendly mail carrier, or that neighbor who helped you dig out your car from three feet of snow. It’s a great excuse to show your gratitude with a handwritten note or jar of local honey.
Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with yourself, your sweetheart, your family, or your bees: I wish you a day filled with gratitude, love, and honey.
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