MEANT TO BEE
We're Marianne and Matt Gee, the co-founders of Gees Bees Honey Company! We started our company after we discovered a colony of honeybees living in the wall of our first home. The bees changed our lives forever and sparked a passion that underlies everything we do.
In the winter of 2009, we bought a house in the outskirts of Ottawa. Little did we know that there was a colony of honeybees living in the wall, between the first and second story. In the spring, we soon discovered the bees, coming and going from the siding, and packing honey into our kitchen ceiling. Not being beekeepers at the time, we didn't know what to do but knew we didn't want to exterminate them.
Unable to find someone to help, Matt decided to put on a rubber rain suit, wrap a towel around his head, climb a ladder, and start removing row after row of honeycomb and thousands of bees from our wall. Many stings later, the bees were re-homed to a cabinet that we put in the woods. We assumed this would be the end to our honeybee adventures....the bees had other ideas.
A couple of weeks later, we were sitting in the backyard and a swarm of honeybees flew over our garage and started going back in the house, in the same place where the previous colony had lived. Perplexed, at this point we called a beekeeper named Rachel who came to our house, helped us find the queen, and sold us our first beekeeping equipment. Here we were, two beekeepers with two beehives and no beekeeping experience.
We started learning everything we could about honey, bees, and how to care for them. We took courses, joined the local beekeeping association, read books. As our hobby grew, we started selling honey at local farmers markets. We also continually met people who wanted to learn about where their honey comes from. We began working with businesses across the city who wanted their own hyper-local honey through our Host a Hive program and connecting honey-lovers to the bees that make their honey through our Hive Share program.
In 2017, we became the stewards of an 8-acre National Capital Commission urban farm in Honey Gables (a neighbourhood of Riverside South in the south-end of Ottawa). Here we have established our retail store where you can sample and shop our pure, local honey. With the help of Ottawa Tourism, we have begun building a Pollinator Sanctuary where you can take a tour through the farm, learn about bees and how your honey is made.