May 20, 2021

Meet The Beekeeper Behind Bee Rescue: Kailin Kim!

In celebration of World Bee Day and our planet’s precious pollinators, Comvita is rescuing 5 Million bees by working with independent beekeepers across the US to safely relocate hives that have found their way into unwelcome areas. This interview is part of a series of introductions to get to know the lives and work of real, professional beekeepers. See what inspires them about their work, learn fascinating facts about bees, and life lessons the beehive can teach us.

Meet beekeeper Kailin Kim (also known as @ho.olahoney ), from Kohala on Hawaii’s Big Island. Kailin and her family (husband Kai and 5-year old beekeeper Lukana) run Hawaii’s only family bee rescue operation.

How long have you been beekeeping?

7 years!

How did you get involved in beekeeping?

I first took a beekeeping course in 2012 just for fun while attending the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo - it was fascinating but I honestly never had any intention of becoming a beekeeper! A couple of years later, our family’s orchard was not producing any fruits and we decided to get some hives to help with pollination. We learned a lot by trial and error the first year, then one day my other half Kai found a hive in a water meter box next door to our home. We researched a lot to figure out how to relocate the bees safely and have been full time bee rescuers ever since.

What do you love about beekeeping?

I love that caring for the bees has become a passion shared by our entire family. Everyday is an adventure- especially when our kids come along with us to catch swarms or check hives. I enjoy beekeeping even more as a mother because I get to share moments with my son and witness him grow into an amazing beekeeper at only 5 years old. It’s extremely fulfilling to watch him get excited about bees, develop his independence, learn to be gentle, and see his love for nature grow.

What are your favorite facts about bees?

Bees use the sun to navigate, the same way our Polynesian ancestors used the sun to navigate across oceans in voyaging canoes to reach islands like Hawaiʻi and Aotearoa (New Zealand). I also love that all the worker bees are all female!

What lessons have you learned from bees that are helpful in other areas of your life?

Working with bees has taught me patience and flexibility, which have become key in surviving motherhood with two boys! Even when I think I know what to expect, the bees always have a way of surprising and humbling me. They have shown me the value of collaborating together with our community, and I have always admired how they work selflessly for the betterment of the whole.

What advice or tips do you have for people who want to help bees where they live?

If you want to help bees in your area, my advice is to learn more about your home environment and figure out how you can make it a better place for generations to come. Whether it is planting native plants, treading lightly, or just being more mindful about using products that can potentially harm pollinators and the earth, every little action can make a big difference.

Do you have any other thoughts about working together with Comvita to rescue bees?

I am very excited about our partnership with Comvita because they are a global company genuinely working to make an impactful difference in the world. Our bee rescue services are often undervalued and underappreciated, so I am grateful for Comvita supporting our family’s efforts to save bees in Hawaiʻi.

We are also looking forward to sourcing manuka honey from a trustworthy company to keep as a staple in our home for immune support.

Luka Hudgins - Kailin's son

Lukana, age 5, with a swarm he caught and contained (with mom & dad’s help!)