Meet the ‘bee whisperer,’ who’s been working to save the bees for over 40 years

Emerald Pellot

Ted Dennard fell in love with bees in 1979 and today he’s the owner and founder of Savannah Bee Company in Georgia. You’ve probably seen some of their numerous offerings on the market, from various kinds of honey to skincare essentials.

The company got started because bees became Dennard’s passion. Nicknamed the “bee whisperer” by his employees, the company is a genuine labor of love.

“My introduction was with this old man called Roy Hightower,” Dennard told In The Know. “He put some honeybee hives on my family’s farm and since that moment, and that was in 1979, I’ve just been with bees.”

He started giving people honey in 1998 when a few people requested it. Dennard didn’t have the heart to sell it to them at first.

“Opened our first retail store in 2008, 16 years later we have 160 people working for the company,” he told In The Know. “I think 2,000, at least, independent retailers. Maybe 100 or 200 stores that have chains. And it’s grown beyond my wildest — any dream I’ve ever had.”

Dennard is passionate about bee conservation of course. He cites pesticides, loss of habitat and a loss of diversity amongst queens as some of the species’ threats. He leads groups, gives talks and goes to trade shows to educate the masses. Four years ago, the company began investing in teaching children about bees too.

“We created this not for profit called the Bee Cause Project and we put this glass educational beehive in a school,” Dennard said. “The kids loved it. That was four years ago and now there’s 320 schools in all 50 states that have these educational beehives.”

Dennard’s goal is to make it to 1,000 schools. In the meantime, he encourages others to follow their passion, no matter the challenges.

“Everybody’s different and what you love the most is what you’re born to do,” he told In The Know. “If you follow that thing that makes you happy it’s like a breadcrumb trail that’s gonna lead you on the path that’s your destiny in life.”

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like reading about these beekeeping sisters who make skincare sourced from their own beehive.

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