Beecoming the "Bee Lady"

Long ago I migrated to Eagle Rock from Silverlake. For reasons unknown, maybe something in the soil, it is not uncommon for an "Eagle Rocker", one who resides in Eagle Rock-Los Angeles, to take a deep dive into organic urban farming ie; raised veg beds, fruit trees, trellised gourds, and backyard chickens. I found myself deep into this phenomenon of urban farming by 2012, just two years upon arriving to Eagle Rock. I also became oddly connected to the bugs that came long with having a garden. The six legged, creepy creatures of all shapes and sizes, good and bad. Struggling to keep my garden healthy and organic I stumbled upon and learned through Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening that, "there is nothing to fight in a healthy environment, because nature is perfect", his philosophy on balancing insect populations by biodiverse plantings, "the more diverse a system is, the more stable it will be". So I started planting beneficial insect plant "walls" around my raised veg beds to attract the good bugs to balance out the populations of the not so good bugs. In doing so, I lured in a lot of bees, bumbles, butterflies, ladybugs, and so many other lovely beneficial insects. I created this insect paradise that soon had my toddler and myself, absolutely obsessed with bugs. We spent each afternoon tending the garden, me thinning carrots and pinching tomatoes, him catching ladybugs, mantids, and petting bees. YES! He would pet the backs of the bees. At first I panicked, as a kid I was told I was allergic to bees and I thought if a bee landed on you, it would likely sting no matter what. I was one of those who imediately freaked, swatted and ran. But I didn't do that this time. I calmed myself and continued to observe my son take his tiny little finger, without fear, and gently stroke the back of the bees all while the bees went about their beesiness. It was with this sweet little interaction I became enamored with bees. Now I assumed I already had a whole beehive in my yard based purely on the amount of bees yumming on my lavender, but I soon learned that I indeed did not. Many books and web searches later I was hooked on keeping bees. I adopted a beehive from a local beek (bee geek) who needed a new home for one of his beehives and the very next spring I started capturing swarms on my own with bait hives. I kept up with my bee practice, taking a few local courses through, but mostly tending to these enigmatic creatures and learning on my own. After a year or so the word got out that I kept bees and soon I started getting calls to rescue bees from friends and their neighbors. I found myself scaling trees, cutting open concrete walls and rescuing bees from demolition sites using an infared camera to locate the bees and a cornucopia of power tools. Today I share numourous apiaries with another beek. Bee culture in Los Angeles has expanded since I started and more and more Angelenos are taking up the hobby. I've found myself helping others tend their bees and teaching a few workshops each year. For me life without bees is no life at all. In all the times I am saving the bees I truly believe the bees are saving me. There is just something so magical about the bees.