apo·ide·a

noun plural \əpo idēə, āˈp-, aˈp-\

1. a superfamily of Hymenoptera comprising the true bees that forage pollinating plants as their primary food source.  They are gatherers unlike their carnivorous relatives, the wasps.  There are approximately 20,000 species of bees globally and around 450 species in Pennsylvania specifically.

2. a [studio + apiary] of creative engagement focused on developing deeper understanding of ecological balances required to provide diverse feed and shelter to beneficial bee species.

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Honeybee  [Apis mellifera]                                   Leafcutter Bee  [Megachilid genera]                        Bumblebee [Bombus species]

about apoidea apiary

The term, “apiary”  traditionally designates a place for the keeping honeybees (Apis mellifera).  Highly desired by mankind for its honey and beeswax, the honeybee has often overshadowed other bee species whose ecological value have gone largely unnoticed and unappreciated.  The core belief of apoidea apiary is that modern beekeeping, with ecological consciousness at it’s heart, should strive deepen the human connection to ALL beneficial bee species and not just a select few.  The name apoidea was chosen for the apiary as this word is the scientific name for the entire big bee superfamily, reflecting our desire to be inclusive of all bee species that benefit humans and the natural world in which we live.

about apoidea’s master beekeeper, Christina Joy Neumann

Since 2005, apoidea’s beekeeper, Christina Neumann, has been working intimately with bee species, developing apoidea as a working studio.  As a Carnegie Mellon-trained architect with a focus in sustainable design, Christina’s practice focuses on the interconnections between the human structures and the natural environments with which they interact.  In 2003, author Janine Benyus challenged her to explore social insect architecture as inspiration for Biomimetic design and she fell in love with the intelligence and food craft of the social honey bee (Apis mellifera) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.). 

From 2008-09, she gained significant knowledge of organic honeybee management and artisanal honey production working as a commercial beekeeper on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Volcano Island Honey Company (now Rare Hawaiian Honey).  Christina currently manages 50-80 of her own urban hives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Since 2005, she has been naturally breeding Northern honeybee stock and also raises mason bees (Osmia lignaria) and leafcutter bees (Megachile rotundata) at her urban apiary.  Christina is the co-founder and current board member of Burgh Bees, a Pittsburgh Area urban beekeeping organization.  In the past, she has been the apiary consult for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Chatham Eden Hall Farm and Rivendale Farm. 

Since 2015, Apoidea Apiary has been on numerous occassion both winner and finalist with the annual Good Food Awards program.  In 2019, Christina gave a speech at the Good Food Awards ceremony and then co-chaired the Honey Category during that year.  In 2020, she earned the Master Beekeeping Certification from Cornell University.  She is a strong supporter of the American Honey Tasting Society and continues efforts in developing a refined palette to decipher truth in honey source and processing.  

Christina believes first and foremost that the core of beekeeping is about practicing awareness.  She conducts guided meditations through observation and drawing to refocus the mind and body to tune in to the wonder of bees.  

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Christina working hives with Volcano Island Honey during the macademia nut bloom in early January.