I have lived since 1970 in Downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan in a neighborhood referred to as “Heritage Hill”, one of the largest urban historic districts in the country. Its 1,300 homes date from 1848 and represent over 60 architectural styles. These were the homes of lumber barons, teachers, judges, and legislators who shaped the city’s future. Today, the population is equally diverse. Professionals, trades people, artisans and students; singles, couples and families, renters and homeowners; people of all colors, backgrounds and incomes. Since 2003, Heritage Hill, has also been home to another population; six Honey Bee Hives! I also raised my two daughters in this home, and throughout their school years, I was very active in the public school system as well as the neighborhood schools and community. I was a volunteer for the “Project Charlie” drug prevention program in the grade schools, taught Sunday School, ran for School Board, and even a little political play running for a County Commissioner Seat. In the early to mid 1980’s I co-partnered with my husband at the time, to help purchase, renovate, design, open and manage three small restaurants called “Mr. J’s Chicken Basket”. I would also help serve and cook during the lunch and dinner hours in-between my other real estate appointments and then back later to help clean and close up and get the kids. I have been an active licensed Realtor, since 1978, and over the years I have acquired income properties that I have renovated. I currently own and manage seven properties consisting of single family, two and four unit buildings. Although I am still a licensed real estate Broker, the Michigan economy has slowed down that career substantially. So, with a background as I have just described, where is there anything to indicate how I would now be connected to honey bees, beekeeping and something called Apitherapy? Exactly, there is nothing! The only thing I knew about a bee was as a child, if I ran barefoot in the grass, I might step on a bee and get stung. (Grass used to have clover in it back then!) My first actual learning experience about Apitherapy and the Honey Bee, was in early 2003. My cousin, Reyah Carlson, who was living in Ventura, CA at the time, was an active Beekeeper and Apitherapist. I didn’t know the importance of what Reyah was doing, until I learned that she had successfully treated my dad’s gangrenous wound. The typical medical treatment was not effective and the condition had become quite serious. After Reyah started to treat the wound with honey, propolis and bee stings, the infection cleared and the wound healed perfectly. Although I thought that was pretty amazing (and weird) I wasn’t quite sold on the idea, when my husband was told he was in need surgery for a major repair of a torn ligament of his rotator cuff. My cousin suggested we fly to California to get bee stings instead! After hearing a few more testimonials from my mom about other conditions she had seen treated by Reyah, including her own arthritic hip, we agreed to make the trip for a short vacation before my husband’s surgery. During our ten days, I was totally confused and yet amazed by this treatment, apitherapy. Each day we would watch and listen to the people that would come to Reyah for bee stings. It was difficult to believe that these people would willingly come and let someone plaster their bodies with bee stings! It was also enlightening to hear them speak of the condition they were in before they started treatment, and to see how much their health and physical abilities had improved from the time they started the BVT. Even more surprising to me was watching my husband getting his shoulder peppered with stings everyday, and trying to justify this “craziness” in my mind. By the end of our trip, we knew a whole lot more about honey bees, hive products and apitherapy. All this new information was as foreign to me as speaking another language. I thought it was interesting, but certainly nothing I could foresee in our future. My biggest surprise was when my husband actually thought his shoulder was feeling better and different from before. Reyah convinced us to go home armed with tweezers, books, tapes, hive products and a contact for getting bees in the mail. Once we were home, we went for a second opinion of having the surgery. We were now told that for his condition, it really might not work so well for him, having 50/50 odds he could end up with less use of his arm and range of motion. Needless to say, we cancelled the surgery, continued on with the apitherapy treatment with constant guidance and assurance through phone calls and email from Reyah. In 2005, my husband, Larry, and I attended our first CMACC in Los Angeles. By then, his arm was completely pain free with full use and range of motion. I had started to sting other family members and by then had several of my own hives. I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could and feel more confident in helping others with apitherapy. The conference was such a great learning experience that I knew I would be going to each and everyone thereafter. It is my hope to continue learning at the CMACC’s as there is such a flow of information to be learned from other apitherapists and medical professionals from around the country and the world. In the quest for local raw honey, I was blessed with meeting a most amazing woman beekeeper who had kept bees for 30 some years. At first I would just buy my honey from her. Then, as I began to teach her about the apitherapy benefits, she began to teach me about beekeeping. What a perfect match! We are now partners managing 20 hives on her “beeland” about 90 miles north of Grand Rapids for honey, and I have the six hives here in town for apitherapy, city honey, and fresh pollen. Seven years ago, I never could have imagined my life would be so hugely impacted by something as small as a honey bee. My home has become an open house three days a week for any and all who seek health and healing from the honey bee and hive products. My garage has turned into an apiary and honey house full of equipment. All my family, friends and neighbors now know the importance of the honey bee. My grandchildren, now age, 3 and 6, have grown up with bees, and honey and pollen, and they know why they are good for them and for the earth! I am eager to share what I continue to learn from apitherapy and beekeeping. I am now a member of the Michigan Beekeepers Association and I am happy to give presentations on apitherapy to various clubs and organizations when invited to do so. Best of all, I get to experience the joy on people’s faces from their healings and good health, where before there was pain and suffering. No, there is nothing small about a honey bee.