Rescued Honeybees Sweetly Pay It Forward

Ryan Smith of Yorba Linda, Calif., had just embarked on his new hobby as a beekeeper and founded the Massey Honey Co. when he started getting phone calls requesting help. Could he rescue a beehive along a horse trail that would otherwise be exterminated? How about one in a public park?

Smith’s answer was “Yes,” and the honeybees he’s rescued have really paid it forward. Smith now has more than 100 rescued hives and has been selling their untreated raw honey in stores locally and around the country.

It can take about a year for the rescued bees to start producing honey, Smith told the Orange County Register. But in the meantime, building a rapport with them really helps.

“I’m trying to do everything as sustainable as possible,” he said. “If I can, I’ll try to relocate the hive, and I keep everything as all-natural as possible. Put the bees first, and eventually you’ll reap the benefits of the honey later on.”

Smith is not the only beekeeper enjoying a sweet win-win thanks to his rescued honeybees. Members of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit HoneyLove Urban Beekeepers, a community of honeybee supporters, rescues and relocates hives.

“Extermination and pesticides are not options,” the group’s website says. “Honeybees can be safely removed and re-homed with new urban beekeepers or community bee yards.”

Across the country, non-profit organizations like the American Honey Bee Protection Agency in Texas and Treasure Valley Bee Rescue in Idaho also rescue and re-home honeybees.

Honeybees are currently “in a bit of a rough spot,” Smith told the Orange County Register. Saving their lives instead of exterminating them is essential for their survival as well as ours.  Colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon first reported in 2006, is causing the majority of worker bees in some colonies to become disoriented and leave, abandoning the queen and bee larvae. Some of the suspected causes of CCD are changes in land use, pesticide use, invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change.

Last year, the United Nations published an alarming study warning that pollinators are facing global extinction. Without pollinator species, including honeybees, butterflies and beetles, the world’s food supply could also disappear.

The news is not entirely bleak, however: There are steps each of us can take to help save the lives of pollinators and, in turn, help save our own lives.


Here are a few ways you can help honeybees thrive:

  • If it’s legal where you live, consider beekeeping as a hobby. Beekeeping is legal in major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • If you come across a hive in your yard or a public place, contact a honeybee rescue or community bee yard if there’s one near you.
  • Grow a bee-friendly garden without using any pesticides.
  • Buy locally sourced honey, especially if it’s from rescued bees.

Photo credit: PollyDot


Avalon G
Avalon G6 days ago

Thank you

Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio11 days ago

the bees thank you Ryan!!!

thank you Laura...

DAVID f22 days ago

Nice story .

Chad A
Chad Anderson1 months ago


Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

Exploiting these poor bees for their honey?

Fiona O
Fiona O2 months ago

I am grateful for the rescue of these buzzy little sweethearts. I have posted this article to facebook and twitter.

Ruth S
Ruth S2 months ago

Plus refuse to buy cosmetics made with "Royal Jelly".

DAVID fleming
DAVID f2 months ago


Jaime J
Jaime J2 months ago

Thank you!!

Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.