01 Mar 2018

Action Plan: Happy Honey

Raising Blissful Bees
by Amy Rogers Nazarov


Price: Building next-generation buzz for an essential—but often misunderstood—species.
(photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Like a hands-on chief executive who loads pallets and leads merger talks, the bees in Dan Price’s (MBA 1984) hives rotate through a series of jobs. “Everyone gets to be an undertaker,” he says, pointing through a windowed hive at a bee dragging away a dead peer. Price has been spreading his love of honeybees for 10 years through his Sweet Virginia Foundation, which is dedicated to raising schoolchildren’s interest in a species whose populations are dwindling precipitously due to mites, pesticides, and other threats. Local youngsters don pint-sized beekeeping suits on Price’s 14-acre farm in Nokesville, Virginia, to engage with bees, which total about 1 million at summer’s peak; others enjoy visits from the foundation’s educators, who bring bees and honeycomb right into the classroom. On Price’s wish list: a life-size hive replica on wheels, a “beeliner” of sorts that will bring the lessons to more kids. Wherever the experience occurs, the mission remains constant: “I want kids to come away saying, ‘Wow, bees are amazing.’ ”

How To: Raise Happy Bees

Stay out of the experts’ way. “Don’t stand in the beeline,” Price says—the path bees take in and out of the hive as they go about their work. Humans might take a tip from bees’ innate organizational skills, he says, which “suggest that we’ll thrive if we can properly discern what [the natural] order is for us, then live in harmony with it.”

Accept that bee stings come with the territory. Price estimates that the highest number of stings he’s endured at one time is six. Nevertheless, he sometimes works with the hives in the absence of protective gear. Not in wet weather, though: “Bees are cranky on rainy days.”

Split hives in the spring. Creating a second hive from the original hive—“splitting the hive” in beekeeping nomenclature—helps you boost honey production, raise new queens, and prevent a hive from swarming.

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1984, Section I

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