‘Blackbird Beekeepers’ take the sting out so you can have the candy

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Blackbird Beekeepers was launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic to create an eco-friendly, health-promoting and sustainable business that founder Darin Wimbush Johnson could pass on to his sons and future generations. .

When most of us see a single bee, we see an intruder that causes discomfort at best and potentially allergies at worst. However, for the naturally curious Johnson, he sees just one of the 40,000 honeybees in his colony in Bassett, Virginia.

Born in Martinsville, Virginia and Fayetteville, North Carolina, by her two children, Zion and Marley, Johnson says, “Blackbird beekeeping came from me being black and having a black child.”

Says the serial entrepreneur, “The company was born at a time of heightened racial awareness. Conversations about social justice and race relations were everywhere, and one day I was sitting listening to The Beatles’ Black Bird (1968) and how they inspired generations of civil rights fighters. It felt like it was in a similar tone to what happened in 2020. I felt like I was in a time machine. The message resonated with me.”

“The blackbird sings in the darkness of the nightTake these broken wings and learn to flyYour whole lifeYou were just waiting for this moment to happen” – Beatles (Blackbird)

When asked how her children and others interested in beekeeping overcome their fear of being stung, Johnson says common sense is key. “You have to understand that you can’t control some things. You can take all the precautions you want.” He continued, “To get over that fear, sometimes I have to let them do what they naturally do. They don’t bother you when they’re out looking for pollen and nectar, but when you approach their home, they sting you to protect their home.”

A graduate of HBCU Winston Salem State University, he added, “Some of the best steps anyone interested in beekeeping can take is to learn as much as they can. You will begin to understand that they are only protecting their home. If you think about this trait, that’s who we are as humans. I think of it as a culture, if you want to know something about another culture, learn about it before you set parameters for them to live in.”

“We exist to provide an artisan bee product for people who want to contribute to a sustainable ecosystem,” says Johnson.

a fan Akeelah and the bee, Johnson wants his business to reflect “the lessons of victory and what it takes to be a champion” for his sons. “I want it to be something that families can be involved in as well. It’s something I started with my family, my two sons. This is something we do to deepen our relationship. We enjoy the honey, but we also go through the stresses that come with potential stings,” he said.

While he and his boys may manage more than 40,000 bees, Johnson knows the Queen Bee runs the show. “I can’t lie, sometimes I still feel anxious about the 40,000 bees flying around me, but I’m better than I was. Now I can go in, find the Queen, make sure she’s okay and get her moving,” Johnson says.

Photo courtesy of Black Bird Beekeepers

Beekeepers support the environment

As an Army veteran, Johnson’s strong discipline quickly paid off with his newfound passion. In the early stages, she says, “I started taking classes at the County Durham Beekeepers Association, reading books, watching videos and connecting with other like-minded people in my community. There is great interest in the products we already sell and the products we build.”

Studies show that honey may offer antidepressant, anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety and memory benefits. Local use of medicinal honey promotes wound healing, especially in burns.

Considering the amount of resources honey can provide, Johnson says she knows her investment will benefit others. He added, “we save bees, keep them healthy and manage them so everyone can benefit.”

With more honey, beeswax and combs on the way, Johnson has also created a product for the winter months, as her bees stay active in their hives well into the spring.

Follow their journey on Instagram and get exclusive coffee mugs, apparel and more. Shop Black Bird BeeKeepers for. You can also order honey and honeycomb here.

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