A Quick Chat with Jeremy Jensen, President of the LA County Beekeepers Association
Written By: Ashlee Polarek
Photographed By: Jared Schlachet and Joe Magnani
Expert: Jeremy Jensen
Credentials: President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
Jeremy Jensen is an expert when it comes to the gorgeous little bees that help keep the world fed and beautiful. Recently, he sat down with LOCALE and gave us the buzz on all things beekeeping. As President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, he helps educate and feed the Los Angeles Community with fresh honey and facts. He is in charge of hundreds of beehives around Los Angeles, so his job with the little guys is a big deal.
Q:How did you get into the beekeeping industry?
Jeremy Jenson: I started beekeeping when I was a high school student. I was in the 10th grade and I heard about the bee colony collapse and I thought ‘Oh my gosh! The beehives are collapsing; this is a big issue in the environment, I can do something about that!’ Around that time I needed to get a job, so I figured I could get a job helping the bees out. That’s how I got started. I went out and removed beehives from houses and bought beehives and I propagated the hives. From there, I kept trying to get more bees to do my part to increase the bee population.
Q: Have you always liked bees or was it something that you learned as you grew up?
JJ: I never paid much attention to bees, it was something I fell in love with when I started looking into it. The bees are just fascinating little creatures. They have a world of their own unbeknownst to other people. I fell in love as soon as I started working with them.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a beekeeper?
JJ: I love spending everyday outside, seeing how beautiful nature is and seeing how the bees go out and they collect and make delicious honey. I think animal husbandry is beautiful, the relationship between the keeper and his hives and being able to help the colonies and know what they need.
Q: How often, do you get, stung?
JJ: I don’t even notice it anymore, so it’s hard to tell. I get stung every time I go out to the bee yard. Most people with one hive will never get stung, well, I have 150 hives in my bee yards.
Q: How can people help out with the current bee crisis?
JJ: The easiest way for people to get involved is to plant bee-friendly plants in their yards and gardens. Lavender, sage, and buckwheat are all bee friendly plants. Planting bee friendly plants is really helpful for the population.
Q: How is LA County Beekeepers involved with the community?
JJ: We do all kinds of community outreach. We do community events and fairs. There was a zoo day, and they had all kinds of different pollinators there so we went. We also do the LA County Fair every year. We see thousands of school kids who come and we tell them about bees and we show them an observation hive and the queen. They get to try honey.
Q: Do you have a favorite honey flavor?
JJ: I do. My favorite is probably black sage honey. I just harvested some; I pulled about 4,000 pounds off. I am very excited to be in my honey house getting it ready for the farmers market.
Q: What inspires you to continue working with the bees?
JJ: Whenever I open a beehive and look in and see that they are healthy, and happy and bringing in lots of honey and they have lots of babies being born. I love it. Seeing a healthy bee hive makes me want to open another one or look at another one.
Q: How would you describe bees and their personalities to someone who has never met a bee before?
JJ: Every hive and breed has its own personality. In the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association we have the stance that we like to keep bees that have known genetics, that means we buy our queen bees from Northern California or Hawaii, because they don’t have Africanized bees there. The queen bee determines the demeanor of the hive. Since she lays all of the eggs, they all come out with the same genetic code and they all have the same instincts.
Ever Wondered What It’s Like to Work With Thousands of Bees?