Hive Highlight: Emma

We take pride in the hives that we build and are dedicated to offering exceptional support for our customers. However, neither of these things would be possible without each and every worker bee in our hive. In this Hive Highlight, meet Emma. Not only is Emma our principal beekeeper in our apiary in Southeast Portland, she also works in our retail space and teaches classes through our education department, spreading bee knowledge and fun wherever she goes. Thank you for all you do, Emma!


Are you a beekeeper or a bee lover?


What kind of hive do you mostly work with?

Warre & Top Bar Hive

How would you describe your beekeeping philosophy?

I lean towards a minimal intervention approach in the apiary. Honeybees have a far greater understanding of the inner workings of their hives than I ever will, and I think that we are currently seeing the consequences of too much human intervention over the past century. I am a proponent of allowing bees the opportunity to find a balance in the world again, and I think that requires us to take a step back and focus on creating an environment that is healthy and safe for our bees.

What initially interested you most about the company?

I was very drawn to the Bee Thinking culture, which is centered around providing the community with the education and resources necessary to support our struggling pollinators and impact the world in a positive way. It takes a lot of work, but everyone here is passionate about what we’re doing, which makes it a lot of fun, too.

Emma spreads the laughter while teaching our Beeswax Beauty and Wellness class


How much honey do you eat every week?

None! I actually don’t enjoy eating honey, which gets me a lot of weird looks... I do use it in skin care and medicinal recipes frequently, though!

Who’s your favorite queen bee?

My favorite queen bee would have to be my mother. She has always been so supportive of my interests and dreams, and I don’t think I would have ended up where I did without that constant encouragement. She also is a fiercely independent and hard-working lady that keeps life exciting - just like any good queen bee should.

What do you enjoy about working in the apiary and the retail space?

They are both so wonderful in very different ways! I adore working in the retail space, because I get to spend my time with people who are excited to learn about the thing that I love the most. It’s fun to share their excitement and help get them established in beekeeping. I obviously love the apiary, because I get to hang out in a gorgeous location full of honeybees, observing their life cycle and participating in it, as well. It is endlessly fascinating to watch them grow through the seasons, tough it out through the winter, and then begin again in the spring.

What fascinates you most about bees?

The idea of a superorganism is amazing to me. There are all of these tiny, individual parts that come together and operate as a single-minded whole. Thousands and thousands of bees have to be in agreement at all times about where to establish a hive, when to swarm, when to raise a new queen, what kind of brood and how much needs to be raised, and on and on and on. It’s pretty cool.

What do you do for fun outside of Bee Thinking?

Explore Oregon with my husband, work in my garden, play my cello, experiment with skin care formulas, binge watch Game of Thrones, binge read sci-fi series, play Neopets, win unofficial beer pong tournaments.

What do you think bees dream about?

Flowers! Those must be the most beautiful dreams ever.

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