An interview with Shevelle Stephens, of Revival Queen Bees
We’d love to tell our readers about you – How did you start, what drives you?
My husband Glyn and I have always had a keen interest in the natural world. We studied biology and worked in the biological sciences industry for a few years before starting an apiary in 2016. We chose beekeeping as our first business venture because it allowed us to connect with nature.
Once we got started we were inspired to move forward by the level of excitement and passion that the general public had towards bees and honey. We wanted to foster this excitement by providing people with an insider’s view into honey production and the life of honey bees.
We knew we could provide value to the industry by breeding high-quality queens that were adapted to the local environment. We are continuously driven to produce strong queens because they are a key component of healthy hives.
Why do you love bees and honey?
Bees are fascinating creatures! When we spend time working the hives we get to witness how amazing and complex they truly are. They encourage us to stop and appreciate the hidden intricacies of nature.
One of the things we love most about beekeeping is that it allows us to produce honey. Honey is an amazing natural product that tastes great and brings joy to so many people. Its versatility makes it a great addition to many meals. Not many people realize that the taste of the honey is largely determined by what flowers the bees were foraging on, so honey from different regions will have different flavors
What type of bees should we be most worried about in the UK?
Honey bees have received more media attention than other bee species in recent years because they are struggling with diseases, pesticides, changing climate, and (in some cases) poor beekeeping practices. However, honey bees are farmed and a lot of effort is put into maintaining their populations. There is evidence to suggest that, although there are colony losses in some regions, the number of honey bee colonies worldwide is actually increasing. Other bee species don’t receive the same amount of attention but we need to continuously monitor their status because there is evidence that their numbers are in decline. We love all bees
How do bees affect our environment?
Bees are responsible for large-scale pollination, which means they contribute heavily to the growth of trees, flowers, and plants.
Why are people scared of bees?
People are scared of bees because they aren’t familiar with bee behavior.. They don’t realize that most bees are actually very gentle and don’t typically sting unless they feel threatened. Honey bees are particularly averse to stinging because they die after they sting someone.
What would be the best plants to grow in a garden to attract bees?
Choose a variety of nectar-rich plants that will provide food for bees at different times throughout the year. Native wildflowers are a great choice, as well as sunflowers, apples, and some herbs. Honey bees love dandelions and clover, so consider allowing those plants to grow. Talk to your local beekeeper and greenhouse to determine which plants are best. If in doubt, plant a large variety of flowers!
Why are bees so important to farming, and to the environment?
Without pollination from bees we would not be able to produce enough of the crops we rely on. These crops are used to feed both humans and animals, and include everything from almonds to cotton, apples to blueberries. Bees also pollinate a large proportion of wildflowers in Europe, which means they are an important member of the natural ecosystem.
What would happen if bees became extinct?
The world as we know it would change! Bees pollinate the vast majority of the crops that humans rely on for food. If bees became extinct we could expect a global food shortage and a huge decrease in biodiversity through cascading ecosystem effects. Landscapes wouldn’t look the same and we would have to change the clothes we wear and the food we eat.
How can we make a difference by shopping responsibly?
By purchasing local food from farmers’ markets so you can meet the producers and ask them questions about their farming practices. Some facilities offer tours so you can see their harvesting and animal husbandry processes.
What harm do pesticides do to the bee population?
Pesticides can have lethal effects on bees and damaging side effects that include lower reproductive success, difficulty navigating to food, behavioral changes, and a reduced ability to learn. The extent of harm done by pesticides is continuously under investigation to help determine how pesticides are interacting with other environmental factors. More work is being done to shed light on the complex nature of this issue but it is important that we don’t ignore other potential causes of bee population decline, such as habitat loss.
What can a business like PURE do to protect bees?
Educate the public about the current issues facing bee populations, and let them know how they can make a positive difference. You can also protect bees by sourcing your ingredients from responsible producers, and by getting involved in projects that protect and restore bee habitat.
Where should we look for more information
Chat with local beekeepers or check out local conservation initiatives. Some examples in the U.K. include bumblebeeconservation.org, who you’re donating to with your apparel, and buglife.org.uk. Responsible beekeeping practices are also part of maintaining health honey bee populations, so our company provides free beekeeping tips and tricks on our Instagram and TikTok accounts.
To find out more about Revival Queen Bees, visit: RevivalQueenBees.com
SAVE THE BEES
Wearing our apparel helps to Save The Bees. A percentage of every sale from our apparel goes to the bumblebee conservation trust. Find out more about our apparel and the work of the BBCT here: Apparel.