Jesse Holland wants to put docile European honey bees in your backyard.
When he was a kid, Jesse Holland’s school went on a field trip to Discovery Place and it changed his life.
“They had this indoor observation beehive. All the other kids were running around doing all the cool stuff, but I just stopped and stared,” he says. “Watching the bees was amazing to me.”
Thirty years later, Jesse’s side hustle, Holland Hives, is the easiest way for Charlotteans to get calm, passive, eco-friendly honey bees in their backyard.
“My goal is to get beehives in backyards all over Charlotte,” Jesse said on a sunny winter afternoon on the terrace at Eddie’s Place, where he’s a bar manager. “A lot of people end up putting a bench by their hives and to watch the bees go and come. It’s an amazing way to spend time.”
The Deal: For $100 a month or $1,100 a year, Jesse offers environmentally conscious Charlotteans a simple deal — he’ll put a hive in your backyard and visit two-ish times a month to manage it. The fun and joy of a beehive is all yours without the work. Also, you get honey.
The Honey: “It comes out to 10 to 20 pounds of honey per year for the homeowner. Most people don’t consume that much honey so they end up sharing it with friends and neighbors. When I visit, I always bring extra suits so people can taste honey straight out of the hive if they want to.”
Set up: Set up is included in your membership fee and the hive will be delivered either early in the morning or just after sunset. Setup day is the only day that you’ll be required to be present.
Safety Check: “European honey bees are some of the most docile honey bees in the world. Bees are fundamentally defensive, they’ll usually bump you as a warning before they’d ever sting. And they die when they sting so they’re not looking to be aggressive.” Jesse has dozens of hives throughout Charlotte.
The Dog: “70% of my hives are in backyards with dogs. Most dogs already understand what a bee is and, instinctively, they respect bees and know how to interact with them.”
The Neighbors: “The City of Charlotte is bee friendly and you don’t need a permit. It’s a good idea to tell your neighbors and if they have questions, they can call me and I can help them get comfortable. Most of the time, neighbors just want to see what’s going on and they want a little honey.”
The Unexpected: One of the great things Jesse does is help sort out any honey bee related surprises you might have. “I do honey bee extraction and swarm removal if you run into problems. Those kind of situations are unusual but I help people out if they run into an issue.”
The Impact: “Bees are our main source of pollination in the United States. They pollinate our flowers and help us to grow most of our fruits and vegetables. A lot of people tell me that they view local honey as a natural way to promote health. I don’t know if that’s true but it’s tasty and it can’t hurt.”
“Bees bring a lot of joy to my life,” Jesse told the Agenda, “and they do for my customers as well. It’s one of those things that’s just good for the world.”
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