Camp Arnold, the owner of Beaufort Bees, is a beekeeper specializing in the humane removal of honey bees from homes and businesses throughout the Lowcountry, from Charleston to Hilton Head. However, Beaufort Bees is more than a "pest" control service.
Beaufort Bees is on a mission to dissolve the stigma that honey bees are dangerous while educating the public of their importance to us and the earth as a whole. We do this by providing hands-on beekeeping guidance through our Bee the Change program.
Camp Arnold stumbled into beekeeping in 2019 when his first attempt to rescue and relocate an unwanted colony of honey bees from a business ended in disaster. Determined to learn from his mistakes, he found himself in the workshop of Greg Ferris, a local apiarist and woodwright of over 35 years. This sparked a two-year apprenticeship in beekeeping and learning how to remove and relocate honey bee colonies from every imaginable structure, ultimately paving the way to what Beaufort Bees is today.
To say I began beekeeping in 2019 is probably a stretch, but that is where the story begins…
One day a random facebook post came to my attention about a swarm of honey bees at a local business in Beaufort, South Carolina. Permaculture gardening, wild foraging, and native plants were a huge interest of mine, so naturally I was interested in keeping bees given how essential and transformative pollination is to the ecosystem. Armed with a painter’s suit, duct taped gloves, a bucket, a hair net (over my face), and a brush, I made every possible mistake in retrieving the bees. Unfortunately, my mistakes led to their demise, and I felt terrible. However, those mistakes sparked my curiosity and set my future ablaze.
After a 10 year career in massage therapy, my business came to a halt during the pandemic. Starting over from scratch seemed impossible at the time, but honestly, I was ready for the change. Existential questions gnawed at every free minute of my time. A sort of midlife crisis ensued.
Needing answers and seeking amends for my failed attempt at relocating bees, I stumbled into the workshop of Greg Ferris. Greg is an apiarist and woodwright of over 35 years. Him and his wife own Ferris Apiaries, which specializes in providing honeybees to patients undergoing apitherapy in the treatment of a host of diseases. I thought, like many people, that honey bees just pollinated plants and made honey, unaware of the medicinal properties of their venom.
Greg offered to let me hang around the shop in my free time, helping when I could in exchange for knowledge. Like a “lost dog,” I complied. One of the first things I remember was making frames from scrap wood and shaking packages of bees into hives. I marveled at his zen-like ability to handle bees without any protective gear. Meanwhile, it seemed every bee in his yard wanted blood from me. Many stings later, he asked if I wanted to do a bee removal with him, to which I reluctantly replied, "yes."
Our first bee removal job together felt almost like a test. Without any experience in construction, let alone bee removals, I carefully opened up the eave of the house. The bees, smelling my adrenaline and hesitation, quickly put me in my place. We took turns disassembling the 100,000 plus colony of bees slowly and painstakingly. Then, we had to put everything back together as if we were never there, along with ensuring that the home was sealed up tight to prevent future infestations. A full day of countless stings, hot sun, torrential downpour, and honey covered clothes hooked me. And the day was not over yet. We still had to transport the bees back to the apiary and transfer them into a hive. In a way, I felt like I had found purpose.
Greg and I continued this mentorship for two years, leaving my massage therapy practice completely behind. Greg and I spent the spring and summers removing honey bee colonies from every structure imaginable and rehoming them to hives in the apiary. Every job was unique, each fostering a new learning environment and set of skills. This paved the way for what Beaufort Bees is today.
Beaufort Bees Today
Beaufort Bees specializes in humane honey bee removal and relocation from Hilton Head to Charleston, and all things beekeeping -- we're more than a "pest" control service.
Our mission is to dissolve the stigma that honey bees are dangerous, while educating the public on their importance to us and the earth as a whole.
In 2022, we launched Bee the Change, a rent-a-hive backyard beekeeping program for Beaufort County residents. We know firsthand how getting into beekeeping can be costly, intimidating, and a big commitment. Bee the Change aims to remove these barriers by providing participants with an active beehive and hands-on beekeeping guidance every month of bee season (March - October), without the long-term commitment. (You can learn more about Bee the Change here.)
Today our 50+ (and growing) hives are spread all over Beaufort County, South Carolina, helping these essential pollinators rebound and repopulate. We ethically manage our bees without the use of any harmful chemicals to treat mites or diseases.
At Beaufort Bees, we think adopting a hive-minded approach not only transcends the boundaries created within society, but also opens doors of communication about our world’s problems at the core. We are one, and together we can thrive. Bee the change!