There are many stereotypes about CPAs, and probably none of them involve accountants donning beekeeper suits. But that is exactly what happened earlier this week when several of us visited Gentry Apiaries in Oakdale, CA. One of the highlights of our work is when we get to see our clients in action and learn about what they do… and this “field trip” was no exception.
Louise Gentry and Lucille Hoffman shared their 30+ years of experience in the bee industry, specifically the raising and selling of queen bees. Our tour began in the warehouse where bees are boxed up for sale. After suiting up in protective clothing, we headed outside to observe the daily feeding routing. Louise and Lucille demonstrated how they open up the hives each day to inspect the queen bees and refill the feeders with syrup. In the “don’t try this at home” category, we learned that you can catch a bee by grabbing its wings. Let’s just say that if you’re not fast enough to get both wings at the same time then plan on getting stung.
We learned a lot of other interesting facts during our visit. For example, bees can fly up to 5 miles from their hive in search of flowering plants and when they return to the hive they are inspected by “guard bees” before being allowed back into the hive. Both Louise and Lucille talked about how they got into the business, and the fact that they continue in this labor intensive work simply because they love what they do. And in case you’re wondering – getting stung is just part of the daily routine for these folks.
Thanks again to the folks at Gentry Apiaries for their hospitality. I’m always amazed at how much we learn when we spend time with our clients in their business environment.