London

She used to be a banker. Now she rescues honey bees from inside people's walls

A couple of years ago, Cassandra Brunsdon of Stratford, Ont., left her corporate job to make beeswax candles full time. That business expanded and now Bunsdon makes her products exclusively from honeybees she rescues.

Cassandra Brunsdon of Stratford, Ont., makes honey and candles from honeybees she rescues

Cassandra Brundson owns and operates Lady Green Inc., a local beeswax candle company. She also rescues honey bees and currently has 12 rescued hives. (Submitted by Cassandra Bunsdon)

A couple of years ago, Cassandra Brunsdon of Stratford, Ont., left her corporate job at a bank to work at a local honey bee farm, making beeswax candles on the side.

But her candle business, Lady Green Inc., took off, and so did the inquiries about rescuing honeybees. Today, Brunsdon works for herself and all the products she makes are exclusively from honeybees she rescues. 

"I've just been following this crazy wave, and I've been enjoying it," said Brunsdon.

Last year, Brunsdon saved two honey bee hives. This season, she's already rescued 10. She keeps them all in bee boxes on a farmer's property outside Stratford.

Rescuing outdoor swarms is one thing, but recently Brunsdon has been getting calls from homeowners who want thousands of honey bees removed from inside their walls.

Just this weekend, Brunsdon and her bee-rescuing mentor Mason Westman of BubbaSquish Honey were at a home in London's Wortley Village, dismantling a wall and removing thousands of bees that had likely taken up residence a number of years ago.

Cassandra Brunsdon with Mason Westman of BubbaSquish Honey, at this weekend's job in Wortley Village in London, Ont. (Submitted by Cassandra Bunsdon)

Using a low-suction industrial vacuum, the team figures they removed 50,000 bees from inside the walls.

"We were quite surprised that it was quite large. We had to do it over two days," Brunsdon said. "We save all the eggs. We save everything. Nothing goes to waste." As much as possible, all of that is returned to the hive, which has been safely relocated to Brunsdon's honeybee boxes, although she was stung 32 times in the process, she said.

They also pulled 150 pounds of excess honey from the walls.

"I will sell that to my customers," she said. She'll clean up all the wax too, she said, and make candles with it.

Brunsdon and Westman are headed to another home to remove bees this weekend in Parkhill, Ont.

"I'm very environmentally conscious and want to be helping the bees as much as I can. And I feel like this is the best way I can do that at this time."

Cassandra Brunsdon of Stratford tells London Morning host Rebecca Zandbergen about her career changes from corporate banker to candlemaker, then beekeeper, now honey bee rescuer. 7:15

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 15 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.

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