Intuit Creates Buzz for Honeybee Rescue Business

On a school field trip to a natural history museum, 8-year-old Bill Walters discovered his life’s passion: beekeeping.

“I wandered away from the class and got in trouble for it,” he recalls. “But I remember to this day seeing an observation hive. … It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my entire life.”

On that ordinary journey, his extraordinary fascination with bees was born. Over time, his childhood wonderment evolved into a thriving professional enterprise. Walters today is the proud owner of Guerilla Beekeepers, a honeybee rescue and relocation business in Santa Ana, Calif.

“If people have an unwanted bee colony in their attic or garage, they usually call an exterminator,” Walters explains. “Well, instead of calling an exterminator, they can call us — and, basically, for the same price we are going to come out and do a live removal of the colony.”

Guerilla Beekeepers relocates the honeybees to a place where they’re wanted, such as a certified organic farm or a backyard garden — someplace where the insects will do some good. Beyond assisting distraught homeowners, the company aims to help reverse the dramatic decline in honeybee populations and restore their vitality, he says.

“The overall reason [for the decline] is the way our agriculture system is set up,” Walters explains. “It requires that we move bees from places responsible for pollinating. So the bees that we remove are called ‘survivor bees.’ They’re the bees that are adapting to all of the stronger diseases and mites coming out of our agriculture system. So, when we get colonies that are good honey producers, [colonies] that are healthy and robust and of good disposition, we propagate those genetics.”

However, the important work being done by Walters and Guerilla Beekeepers isn’t cheap. In fact, the price of leading these critical rescue and relocation efforts can really … sting. Storing, transporting, and maintaining the health of bees quickly erodes any revenue derived from removing hives and selling  honey. As a result, Walters has worked on a shoestring budget for years, consistently reinvesting  all earnings into the company.

He says he was elated to learn from his wife, Nicole Herold, about Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign. “Our wish is to continue to rescue and relocate the honeybees,” he wrote in his grant application. “To do this, the colonies need homes. A hive consists of three to four boxes, 30 frames, a stand, and a top and bottom; $5,000 will provide us with 25 new hives for the bees, which will provide us with honey that through its sale enables us to continue to rescue the bees.”

Today, Guerilla Beekeepers is buzzing with excitement, because Intuit is granting its wish in order to help the business continue its important work. “You have no idea what this means to me,” Walters says. “Thank you so much!”

Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners, and find out if yours is one of the wishes we’ve granted!

 

About Michael Essany

Michael Essany is a former E! Entertainment Television host and nationally published author who was recognized by A&E Biography in 2005 as "One of America's Most Remarkable People." Michael currently serves as Vice President of Indiana Grain Company, LLC.
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63 comments
Toffee_Talk
Toffee_Talk

Congratulations! Wonderful story - beekeeping is all "a buzz" here in Marin County, CA.

Jacque Zirtzman
Jacque Zirtzman

Congratulations from Lifting Others Visions Effectively!

vegandawg
vegandawg

Ripoff company again. Keep deleting my comments and hiding from the truth. They steal others nectar on their property and sell their honey for outrageous prices.

 

Mark Berger
Mark Berger

so glad you got it!!! the bee's could use all the help they could get.

Debra Johnson
Debra Johnson

Congratulations! Wonderful when you get to do what you are passionate about!

Debbie Goodrich
Debbie Goodrich

Congratulations. What is more awesome is that you are being awarded for not necessarily having the most votes. Bees need help and whatever we can do to keep them going is important. Also check out new news about beekeepers confronting the EPA about bee loss.

Brooke Kelly
Brooke Kelly

I love seeing peoples' wishes come true!

vegandawg
vegandawg

Guy is a scam artist. He uses other people's yards and gardens for his bees to gather nectar and only gives them 3%. Then he resells the honey at outrageous prices at Farmer's markets and suckers people on both ends. 

Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones

Congrats - hope they helpTwoOldGoatsHoney They need more boxes being they offer free swarm removal for the communtiy

Guerilla Beekeepers
Guerilla Beekeepers

Ahhhhhh We are so EXCITED! Thank you ALL for your loving support and for seeing the importance of SAVING THE HONEYBEES! Wooooooooooooooooooo Hooooooooooooooo!

Karen Tipsword
Karen Tipsword

Congratulations from Persimmon Creek Campground. We hope to add 2 hives next year to our gardens and orchard.

Bee man
Bee man

3%? not bad. i charge to locate my hives on your property. Property owners benefit from my bees. @vegandawg