Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ten Questions with Scott McCoy, Beekeeper

Scott McCoy and Patty Robbins of Bodhi Bee Farms. (Scott McCoy)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Scott McCoy, beekeeper and local business owner.

What is your job title and description?

I have two jobs. My full-time job is as a New Construction HVAC (Building Automation Systems) Sales Account Executive for Johnson Controls, Inc. My other job is the co-owner of a local honeybee business, Bodhi Bee Farms, LLC. I am also the primary beekeeper and candle-maker for our business.

How did you get into beekeeping?

One of my favorite stories! I always introduce myself to the students at the Williamsburg Area Beekeepers, Beekeeping 101 class by telling them I was tricked into it. My wife, Patty Robbins, saw an ad for a beehive and decided we should get one and learn to keep bees. At the time she was working at UVA in the Neuro ICU as a nurse practitioner, but we lived in Chesapeake. She kept an apartment in Charlottesville and worked a rotating two days on, three days off, and three days on two days off schedule. We kept the hive for about a year while we worked through our backyard wedding, but the following spring, we signed up for a beekeeping course that ran every Saturday for three weeks. Well, you can see how hard it would be for her to be in all three classes, and she was only able to attend one class. Since I went to all three, she told me “I guess you are now the beekeeper.” Turns out I really liked it, so it was the best trick ever played on me. Now, eight years later, she is keeping her own hives and working alongside me to help with the other 32-plus hives we have.

How many beehives do you and your wife manage?

Currently, we have 36 colonies.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

In the spring and summer, honeybee workers only live about six weeks, but over the winter they live up to four or more months, while the queen can live for two to five years.

How long have you lived in the greater Williamsburg/York area? What is your favorite part of living here?

Almost four years. The friendlier community and the slower pace.

How do you define success?

I would define success in life, as the ability to be peaceful and happy in your everyday life.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

After marrying my wife, starting, and seeing our business grow the way it has these past 9 months.

(Scott McCoy)

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Learn to have gratitude and be more compassionate.

Is there a special meaning/significance to the name ‘Bodhi Bee Farms’? 

Yes, there is. The word ‘bodhi’ is a San-Skrit and Pali Word which means to awaken. It is the root word for the term Buddha, An Awakened One, or Bodhisattva, one who is destined to be awakened. I have been studying Buddhism for 12-plus years and consider myself a lay Buddhist. Honeybees are mentioned by the Buddha and used in Buddhist texts in several places. One such reference is the idea that although bees gather nectar and pollen from many flowers, they benefit the flower and do no harm to them, unlike most other animals that need to harm plants and animals to eat and survive. We developed our motto “The Sweet Taste of Enlightenment” in reference to honey and honeybees, as well as trying to do no harm. Later when we started making candles, we saw how the Enlightenment part of our motto fit well with the candles as much as the sweet taste fit with the honey.

What is the next step in your journey?

Continue to grow our bee business on a part-time basis until we retire in a few years then, expand it on a full-time basis. Maybe a brick-and-mortar store, honey packing, larger-scale candle-making, and who knows what else.

Visit Bodhi Bee Farms webpage to learn more.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people that live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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