Skip to main content

In conversation with: San Diego beekeeper @girlnextdoorhoney

A San Diego woman beekeeper standing in front of a jar of honey.

Self-proclaiming the title of ‘America’s Finest City’ is a big call, but San Diego delivers what it promises. California cool, sun bleached and so laid back the locals are almost horizontal, it’s easy to come here for a quick visit, and suddenly find yourself 8 years deep and owning an organic café.

Want to know what the locals do with their time here? We spent a day hanging out with San Diego beekeeper Hilary Kearney, otherwise known as @girlnextdoorhoney, chatting all things bees and beyond…

Two San Diego beekeepers observing a beehive in a field.

So why bees? How did you get into bee keeping?

I picked up a beekeeping book by chance and was fascinated by the bees themselves. I couldn’t believe how sophisticated they are. I kept reading about them and finally decided if I really want to learn more I need to start keeping them. So, I asked my dad to build me a hive using some free plans I found online and I put up a craigslist ad that said I would come get bees for free and basically just started doing it. I kind of fell in love with bees.

A San Diego beekeeper tends to a bee hive in a field with yellow flowers.

What do you enjoy most about educating people about bees?

I frequently hear from people who used to be afraid of bees, who say they have gotten over their fear because of what they learned from me.

Best markets to check out to buy local, home grown produce?

My neighborhood, Golden Hill, has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning, but I love picking up fresh produce at Suzie’s Farmstand when I am there checking my bees.

A sign in the middle of a field in San Diego.

What is your favourite way to spend a weekend in San Diego?

Most weekends I am working, giving apiary tours or classes, but when I take a weekend off I love going to brunch or happy hour with with my friends. In the spring, I often go on hikes and search for native bees along the way. I also really love going to Mexico for the day. A friend runs a tour company in Tijuana called Turista Libre, that makes it really easy to hop across the border for some fun.

Two San Diego beekeepers holding bloody marys.

Your favourite organic food place in town?

I’m a big fan of Cafe 21.

How has beekeeping allowed you to connect with people from all over the world. What are the benefits of this?

It’s been really cool connecting with other beekeepers from all over the world. Everyone has a different way of doing things so it is cool to hear what they do differently. We can learn new techniques from each other. Natural beekeeping practices are not as accessible in some places and I think I have been able to help influence and guide some people who don’t have local resources. 

A San Diego beekeeper examines a plate of honey and a jar of honey on a table.