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'Accidental Bee Keeper' is Your Weston Neighbor

WESTON, Conn. – Behind a small red house on Lyons Plain Road is the Red Bee Apiary , a unique home business that produces a variety of honeys and honey-related products, from soaps to candles.

The business is the brain child of Carla Marina Marchese, who has lived in Weston for 17 years and operated the apiary for 13 years.

She’s also the author of “Honey Bee: Lessons from an Accidental Bee Keeper,” the book that tells the story of how she quit her job to become a bee keeper.

“I discovered bee keeping by accident,” Marchese said. “One of my neighbors in Weston invited me to visit his honeybees. He let me taste the fresh honey and I fell in love with it. I got one beehive for fun and just started learning about nature and trees and plants and honey and about how important honey bees are for pollination.

“The whole concept was fascinating. It’s not just about having these boxes but feeding into things about life and nature, it just opened up my eyes.”

One beehive became three, three became five and now she has 16 in her back yard where she harvests the honey.

She has an assistant and hires Weston High School students on a part-time basis to help her out.

Managing the bees in the hive is a process, Marchese said.

“I have to do an inspection every couple of weeks to look for signs of a healthy hive," she said. "I look for the queen and make sure she’s healthy, see if she’s laying eggs and make sure they’re bringing in honey and pollen. I look for brood signs of baby bees soon to be born and look for pests and diseases. It’s like becoming a veterinarian. You’re like a doctor and a mother at the same time taking care of them.”

Honey production occurs in the warm-weather months, but Marchese is busy year round.

“If we don’t have honey to sell, we make a lot of different things, such as honey soap, bees wax lip balm and candles,” she said.

Marchese is president of the Backyard Beekeepers Association , which has monthly meetings in Weston.

“There are hundreds of beekeepers in Connecticut and many in Weston,” she said. “Most are hobbyists and have one hive or two and do it on the weekends. But for me, beekeeping took over my life and it became a business.”

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