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Squamish business beat: Bee Wild Paradise Valley apiary offering public tours

Get to know AnnaMarie Rutishauser whose apiary boasts four hives for the season with upwards of 60,000 bees per hive.

A start-up apiary in Paradise Valley is now offering a chance to view the busy bees up close and personal.

Bee Wild Paradise Valley recently started public tours of the homegrown apiary, which is a term for keeping beehives and honey bees. Owner and apiarist, AnnaMarie Rutishauser, said she currently maintains four beehives, but has the supplies to build to 10. 

By July, Rutishauser said upwards of 60,000 bees may occupy each hive with more into August.

“When friends and family would visit … they would just love seeing the bees and learning about the bees, and I just wanted to share that with our community,” Rutishauser said about starting the tours. 

“I thought a lot of people would be interested in seeing those interactions between the bees themselves and how we as humans can help.”

On Saturdays, interested customers can have an opportunity to view the apiary, by booking online

It is about $25 per person, said Rutishauser, and free for children five and under.

“During the tours, we talk about the different stages of bee development, and we observe inside the hive. So getting that hands-on, visual, tactile, sensory experience, where you're smelling the honey and you're feeling the vibrations of bees,” she said.

For Rutishauser, starting the apiary was a bit serendipitous.

Pleasing bees

“I started digging into permaculture and learning about the interactions between plants and animals and humans and how we can mutually benefit each other,” she said. “One of the plants I planted was yellow clover and the bees were all over that.”

After seeing that, she thought, “Let’s see how honeybees work in our garden.”

In the beginning, Rutishauser said that she honestly knew nothing about beekeeping.

“I was in over my head pretty quick,” she said with a laugh. “Thankfully, Gerald [Cote], my dance instructor, was a professional beekeeper once upon a time in Alberta, and he came in and showed me everything.”

“From there, it just took off.”

Now, a few years later, Rutishauser is producing and selling honey alongside the tours, which, when it's ready, will be found at the Squamish Farmers’ Market, plus other markets in the Lower Mainland.

“Last year, our honey production just went through the roof,” she said, adding they harvested about 550 pounds or 250 kilograms of honey with only two hives.

She said the success was largely due to the one-on-one coaching she got from Cote

With the addition of two more hives and the supplies for more, she hopes they can increase honey production and create more products, such as infusing flavours into honey and candles. Rutishauser said the main honey harvesting will be between July and August.

If interested in learning more about the apiary, or to book a tour, visit

Also, check out The Squamish Chief’s TikTok of the apiary.

'Squamish business beat' is a new series that arose from feedback from locals who wanted to see more business-related news. With this beat, we cover brand-new, independent business openings and closings, among other business-related topics, as our time and resources allow. To be considered for this series, please email [email protected].

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that it is up to 60,000 bees per hive not 60,000 bees in total. The Squamish Chief apologizes for any confusion this error may have caused.