“I have always had a fascination with bees, and it was something that really dug under my skin,” said AZ Queen Bee, Audra Waddle.
Five years ago, Waddle took the plunge to turn her passion into a career. She started buying as many books on beekeeping as she could find and watched countless video online to understand the proper handling techniques.
Armed with her equipment, bee suite and new-found knowledge, Waddle set off on a quest to acquire bees. She originally planned to purchase two sets of bees but decided to pursue another route due to delays in delivery.
“I’d heard about bee rescue and it was something I really wanted to get into, so I started spreading the word trying to find someone who had a hive in their backyard that needed to be relocated,” she explained. “Within a few weeks I found this bustling hive that was underneath a shed in someone’s backyard. There were probably 120,000 bees, which is a huge hive for someone who had never done anything with bees before.”
During the extraction, Waddle said her heart was pounding and she had to give herself a pep talk to convince herself that she could handle it. The talk worked and she successfully removed the hive. Her pay off? A beautiful honeycomb filled with spring white honey.
Since then, her love of bees has blossomed into 6 locations across the valley. The AZ Queen Bee sells a variety of pure, raw, unfiltered honey, as well as candles, lip balm and body butter using beeswax. She also takes time to educates her customers on the importance of bee rescue.
“If we wipe out our honey bees, the results would not be good for the environment. Rehoming bees allows them to thrive in an intended area with a good food source like nectar. Actually, my favorite location is here in Chandler because they do so well,” she said.
Being an entrepreneur has also reinforced Waddle’s passion for supporting local businesses.
“I go to farmers markets all the time. In fact, I bought 85% of my Christmas gifts this year at famers markets because you’re supporting a local family and allowing them to do what they love,” she said.
She’s felt the same love at the Downtown Chandler Farmers Market where she hosts a booth each week.
“I love it. I feel so supported by locals and it’s a great opportunity to bring the bees out in a display case so people can safely observe them,” she said.
Sounds like an un-bee-lievably good time!
Interested in supporting AZ Queen Bee? Stop by the Farmers Market every Saturday through May from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30p.m. in Dr. AJ Chandler Park – West. You can also visit the website and follow along on Facebook.