Queen Bee: Sophomore Allison Pasheilich owns about 60,000 bees


Beekeeper and sophomore Allison Pasheilich looks at a bee on her hand while wearing her favorite shirt, one that features a bee pattern. She said she likes beekeeping as a side hobby but wouldn't want to pursue it as an occupation.

Angela Qian

How did you get into beekeeping?

My grandpa found out that he could have bees, and he lives up in South Bend (Indiana). He basically found out that he wasn’t not allowed to have bees. That’s kind of the person that he is. He does stuff because he can. He found out, and he got bees, and we went up and visited him last summer, and I saw the bees and said, “Ooh, I want bees.” Somehow, I convinced my parents, and now I have bees. I think he has nine hives now. He has an additional year on me, so this is his second year. It was kind of a thought in my head, like it would be cool to have bees, to be a beekeeper, but until my grandpa got these and I was really able to get into a hive for the first time and actually see it, then it really clicked like, “Yeah, this is what I want to do.”

What are some misconceptions about beekeeping?

People are scared of bees, and honestly, they’re super chill. They’re really fun. At least my bees are really relaxed. I mean, it all really depends on the queen. If the queen has good genetics, then the whole hive is gonna be nice. If the queen is angry for whatever reason, the whole hive is angry. Really just people being scared of bees when in reality, they don’t like to sting. They die (when they sting). They really don’t want to die.

What qualities do you need to be a beekeeper?

A lot of patience and self control. Patience because they don’t work (in an instant). They don’t necessarily work slowly, though, because there’s a lot of them. It takes them a hot second to do stuff, so you can’t go put a brand new box on and then expect to come back the next week and it’s full of stuff. That’s just not how it works. And then self-control to just not get into the hive every day because (the bees) don’t really like that.

What has beekeeping taught you?

It’s obviously taught me about bees. It’s introduced me to a whole new group of people. I’m in a bee club, North Central Beekeepers. It meets at Cool Creek; it’s pretty cool. I’m the youngest person there by like 20 years at least. It’s this whole new crazy group of people. I don’t know if it’s really necessarily taught me anything (other than) self-control (and) patience but people skills. You go out and talk to people like, “Hey, my bees are doing this. Is that normal?”


Where do you want to go with this?

I want to get more bees, obviously. That’s always the goal, but I really want to help educate people about bees because they’re dying, and they’re really important. I’m actually doing my Gold Award project, which is the Girl Scout equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle Scout, (on bees), so I’m doing that, trying to educate the public about bees and all of that. For my Gold, I made an educational booklet to teach kids about these through mazes, crosswords, word searches, matches (and) fill-in-the-blanks, just to make it fun for them to learn about bees, and then I handed those out. Cool Creek Park does a summer concert series, so I was at a couple of those concerts handing out my booklets.

Any last thoughts?

Save the bees. What you can do to help save the bees is plant bee-friendly flowers, and there’s a lot of online resources (like thehoneybeeconservancy.org) where you can find what good, bee-friendly flowers are. There are a lot of really pretty ones like daisies; sunflowers are good; dandelions are actually really good for bees because they bloom super early. Don’t use pesticides. Pesticides are bad. They kill bees. Don’t kill a bee if you see it. And then you can go out and put out water sources for bees.

Pasheilich has an Instagram account dedicated to her beekeeping journey @adventures_of_a_beekeeper.

Click here to support her Girl Scout Gold Award project.