They Keep Bees is a LGBTQIA+ run business in Great Falls, Massachusetts. We tend bees in Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont, and on the central coast of Florida.
Currently, we manage 300 Comfort hives. Comfort hives are simply designed, handmade hives built to mimic the cavity of a tree, and be responsive to the needs of the bees. In a beehive, the influences of the ecosystem shape the actions of the hive as a collective. As stewards of honeybees, we listen to the ecology around us and observe the response within our hives to make decisions about the best actions we can take as beekeepers.
From our hives, we harvest honey, honeycomb, beeswax, and propolis. We also produce queen bees and starter hives. Our passion is raising resilient and adaptive queen bees for the two bioregions in which we work, and teaching aspiring beekeepers how to build sustainable apiaries.
Photo credit: epli
Photo credit: Candace Hope
Ang Roell (they/them) is the founder of They Keep Bees. Ang co-leads apiary management and designed all elements of TKB’s queen school and online bee school offerings. Ang has studied beekeeping with Treatment Free Beekeeping all-stars like Dee Lusby and Kirk Webster. They have worked with Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries, where they fine tuned their grafting and queen handling skills. Ang started They Keep Bees in 2016 with a seed grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. From there, Ang built an apiary of 60 hives led by Russian and Carniolan queen bees, taught collegiate courses in beekeeping and open mated & selected from their stock for several years before officially launching bee sales in 2019. In that same year, They Keep Bees was awarded two NESARE grant funds that launched their current apicultural research projects in queen production. Now they focus on how to produce high quality queens and teach others how to do the same. Ang and Bi are founding members of the Adaptive Bee Breeders Alliance- a group led by Melanie Kirby and dedicated to building climate resilient beekeeping practices. Ang’s professional background is in education, evaluation and facilitation. They are an award winning educator and facilitator, and currently work off farm part-time as an organizational consultant.
Bi Kline (they/them) is the co-operator of They Keep Bees. Bi co-leads apiary management, and co-facilitates all of TKB’s educational offerings. Bi lead land tending projects at They Keep Bees including both forest and pasture management. Bi is currently spearheading the planting of over 100 chestnut trees at our home apiary in Western Massachusetts.
Bi formally joined TKB in 2019 when they helped Ang haul 50 nucleus hives from Florida to Massachusetts to fill our first orders ever. Thanks to the help of a tiny but mighty Mazda B2300 pick up named “Little Trucky” Bi and Ang traversed the East Coast successfully and launched TKB as a business. From there Bi leapt into the deep end of the bee world, becoming a skilled queen catcher with Anarchy Apiaries and They Keep Bees. They’ve spent the last four years immersed in our queen production and research. Now they manage many of the operational elements of They Keep Bees as a partner and co-owner.
Bi has an extensive background as a Learning Specialist and Classroom Teacher in the Public School System where they worked from 2008-2018. They hold a Masters of Education in Special Education. Their background in agriculture is rooted in vegetable and mixed green farming with Yard Birds Farm, where they grew mixed greens and vegetables for a community CSA. Bi is also an avid drummer with 20 years of practice under their belt. Bi knows how to manage everything from a classroom to a chaotic apiary with grace, ease and rhythm.
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