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Famous Beekeepers {Who are They?}

Thought you were the only bee fan out there? No Way. Those of you interested in becoming a beekeeper are joining some pretty famous beekeepers. Humans and honey bees have been interacting for thousands of years. In fact our fascination with this humble insect results in many new beekeepers each year. Thought you were the only bee fan out there? No Way.

Famous People Who Loved Keeping Bees

Female beekeeper inspecting colonies of honey bees image.

Beekeeping has been a hobby for a very long time. Early man harvested honey from bees, as depicted in cave drawings.

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Of course in the early times, the bees were destroyed to obtain the honey. They were often housed in straw skeps. This resulted in a constant need to find new colonies.

Over time, beekeepers learned how to manage bees and harvest honey without destroying the colony. Though some methods were better than others.

Early bee keeper with skep hive image.

In Colonial America, beekeeping was a honorable hobby. And, keeping bees allowed people to provide collected honey, beeswax and other valuable resources for their family.

The honey bee is the only insect that produces food directly consumed by humans. Still, some people enjoy bees for more than the products offered by beekeeping.

The enjoyment of managing a beehive is one that is shared by people from many different walks of life. Bees were considered messengers of the Gods in some cultures. In fact, the records of history are dotted with several famous beekeepers.

Many of these people are well known for other achievements. But, I’m sure they were proud to call themselves beekeepers. How many are you familiar with?

Apiary in a mountain area image.

Henry Fonda – Actor & Beekeeper

Henry Fonda, a renown actor, was also an accomplished beekeeper. He kept bees on his California estate, where they enjoyed the nectar from his citrus trees.

He was a beekeeper before he became an actor, earning an Eagle Scout’s merit badge for beekeeping.

It is said that he gave away his jars of honey with a label reading: Henry’s Honey. Now, who would not want a jar of that.

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Leo tolstoy beekeeper portrait image.

Leo Tolstoy – Author & Beekeeper

This Russian author is probably best known for his novel War and Peace. It is a celebrated work of world literature and his greatest work.

But he was also a famous beekeeper, sharing his love of beekeeping with friends and colleges. He even mentions beekeeping twice in the book.

His great love for bees was documented in his wife’s diary. She spoke of him crouching in front of the hives with a net over his head. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it.)

Maria Von Trapp – Singer & Beekeeper

The name Maria Von Trapp is well known around the world. She was head of the Trapp Family Singers. Her life story was the inspiration for the film The Sound of Music.

She was also an avid beekeeper. After arriving in the United States in the early 1940’s, she lived in Vermont.  She kept bees on her family farm. Her husband encouraged her in her beekeeping pursuit.

Scarlett Johansson – Actress & Beekeeper

A well-known American actress, Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. She began her acting career as a child. Her film work includes such titles as: “Lost in Translation” and “The Nanny Diaries”. In addition to earning several Oscar nomination she has appeared on Broadway.

Among her many passions is a love for bees. In fact, she was gifted a hive by a fellow actor (Samuel L Jackson) back in 2009. Her status gives her a great opportunity to support the cause for saving bees.

Cartoon of sherlock holmes character as famous beekeeper image.

Sherlock Holmes – Detective & Beekeeper

According to Conan Doyle, fictional detective Sherlock Holmes was another famous beekeeper. He may be remembered as a brilliant detective. But his beekeeping experience began upon retirement.

Beekeeping involves some detective work on occasion so this seems a fitting end to a brilliant career. Can a fictional person be a famous beekeeper?  Sure, if he can solve crimes – he can keep bees.

Lady beekeeper image.

Martha Stewart – Personality & Beekeeper

Martha Stewart is the queen of all things homemaking with style. Is there anything she can’t do? Her desire to have a great garden, led to an appreciation of the honey bee. She knows how important bees are for pollination.

She has been a beekeeper for many years and shares her love of bees with others. I wonder if Martha’s bees keep house better than mine or yours?

Male beekeeper inspecting hive image.

Morgan Freeman – Actor & Beekeeper

I just love Morgan Freeman. He needs no introduction to movie goers. In addition to starring in numerous movies over the years, he is also a beekeeper.

Mr. Freeman has always been an outspoken advocate for protection of the environment. 

Since becoming a beekeeper, he has devoted a potion of this Mississippi ranch for the care of his bees. He has also become an outspoken supporter of bees.

Frame of honey from a beehive image.

Peter Fonda – Actor & Beekeeper

Well known for his contributions to the acting community, Peter Fonda was quite an accomplished beekeeper.

In fact, he was named Beekeeper of the Year by the Florida State Beekeeping Association. His portrayal of beekeeping in the movie Ulee’s Gold brought the plight of beekeepers to the forefront.

These people come from many different walks of life.  All have made great accomplishments in their professional lives.  What do they have in common?

Each one is a famous beekeeper.  Beekeeping was not their “claim to fame”.  However, they made time in their busy lives to connect with honey bees. Who will be the next famous beekeeper?  Maybe it will be you!