Busy bees | Johnston Sun Increase


For Kevin Shea and Sue Baron of Rizzo Farms, beekeeping is not just a pastime or a thing to do on the weekends, but a way of lifestyle. 

And even although Shea manages the hives and Baron oversees advertising, the real stars are the bees. 

Shea started holding bees as a way to help his fruit trees create a harvest. 

“I was finding no fruit. Calendar year after 12 months, I was doing every thing suitable and couldn’t figure out what was going on,” he stated during an job interview. “And then I began performing the analysis, and identified out that we lose half the bee inhabitants in this state every calendar year due to pesticides and people today making use of Roundup on the yard to get rid of dandelions. Dandelions are seriously [the bees’] initial choice to feed their infants. Most folks have no concept, and I was just one of them.” 

Shea stopped applying pesticides for weeds and bugs in his yard, and due to the fact then has relied on a balanced bee population for the past 11 decades. In 2019, Baron joined the Rizzo Farms workforce to direct profits and advertising. 

“It finished up doing work out,” Shea claimed in an interview. “Sue enjoys the craft sphere, and her son and the complete family members gets included. I have so considerably heading on, we offered a business option collectively, and I stated ‘Would you be fascinated in accomplishing all the fairs?’ And that’s where by Sue sort of took over, and has genuinely blossomed Rizzo Farms to a total other amount.” 

For Rizzo Farms, the beekeeping time commences in April, when Shea gets 3,000 to 5,000 honeybees, such as a queen bee, from Northern California to replace the useless hives that did not make it above the wintertime. The bees then reproduce and generate honey right until late summertime. 

“That’s really considerably it,” Shea claimed. “The bees truly do all the do the job.” 

Shea spelled out that inexperienced beekeepers operate the danger of injuring the queen, which can established honey output back again by numerous weeks. 

“It can take 16 times from egg to hatch for a queen to come out,” he said. “Then she has to fly out of the hive for the very first week and mate just before she arrives again. And then you danger her obtaining picked off by a fowl.” 

He recommends that any one fascinated in beekeeping or starting up their possess hives should really get a certification course via the Rhode Island Beekeepers Affiliation. 

Rizzo Farms is not primarily based in a single place, but relatively all more than the condition. Shea has beehives in areas like Smithfield, Johnston and Chepachet, and leases hives in Sterling, Connecticut. At the moment, Shea has 20 hives, but claims he unfortunately misplaced very a couple during the past calendar year. 

Shea said fertilizing the fruit trees obtained him started, but then adore of the course of action took in excess of. 

“All of a unexpected, I experienced a lot more honey than I know what to do with,” he stated, introducing that he is not even a fan of honey. 

Baron is a huge supporter of honey she states it will help with her seasonal allergies. 

“It’s humorous how you should really purchase honey, and I have been telling people today this for several years,” she reported in an interview. “The drop honey you need to acquire for following slide. And the spring honey you really should acquire for future spring. There’s an old declaring: question 5 unique beekeepers and you’ll get 6 distinct answers.” 

Even with the competitiveness amid neighborhood beekeepers, Shea states there is additional camaraderie than a person would hope. “I know so a lot of other beekeepers that I get honey from them when they have far too a great deal and really don’t know what to do with it. We all became pals.” 

The major concentrate for Rizzo Farms is “to preserve the price tag small, make a tiny financial gain, and shift as a lot as we can to support everyone out,” described Shea. “We’re not seeking for a large earnings.” 

Ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baron found it uncomplicated to market at farmers marketplaces and local craft fairs, like the Scituate Art Festival. 

“People would just appear up to my table, and I would have a tiny jar with a small style spoons and [the customers] would flavor it and then acquire four or 5 jars. But now mainly because of COVID, I just can’t allow samples, but we do have 340 normal customers,” she spelled out. “I enjoy likely to farmers marketplaces. You satisfy so lots of really great people today that are so down to earth. It’s just a unique culture.” 

Rizzo Farms honey can also be observed in 11 local establishments like Belmont Markets and Dino’s, as properly as a couple of components retailers and cigar stores. Honey can also be procured by calling Baron right at [email protected]. 1 pound jars of raw honey expense $12, honey sticks in a range of flavors are $.50 each, and wooden drizzlers are $1. 

“We decide on up very little places here and there, and think it or not, some quaint minimal sites sell the greatest,” Shea claimed. “You think Dino’s being a grocery store would outsell a great deal of these other areas, but I have found the components retail outlet sells the very best out of everyone.” 

Both of those Shea and Baron are passionate about preserving the bees. The top motion to acquire towards preserving bee populations is to end spraying weed killers and pesticides in the yard. 

Shea advises people today to put up birdhouses, welcoming far more birds into the property to choose care of undesirable insects like ticks and grubs. Baron encourages people to plant bouquets, like black-eyed Susans and daisies. Even trying to keep dandelions all around is useful to bees. If dandelions must be eradicated, Shea invites people to pour boiling drinking water on the plants in its place of toxic chemical compounds. 

“That’s the unfortunate part,” he mentioned. “We have every person spreading pesticides to kill all the bugs that they do not want, but they end up killing all the ones we do need.”