Physics teacher’s hobby generates a buzz


When physics teacher Joseph Estevez is not crafting some kind of pushcart lab for his students, you can find him tending to the several thousand bees he keeps. He said he began keeping bees simply “because he could” and he was looking to live a more eco-friendly life.

“We have about an acre of land, so we have a little bit of privacy, and we like to garden and live more sustainably,” he said. “Bees are a great way to do that.”

For about an hour or so every couple of weeks, he suits up and takes a look at the condition of his colony. 

“I open up the hive and look at the frames, which is where the bees grow, develop, and where they store honey and pollen to eat,” Estevez said. “I’ll be checking to make sure that there are eggs in the hive and that the different stages of development of an egg to a baby bee are present because that is an indicator that the hive is alive and doing well.” 

While he enjoys the maintenance process, he said his favorite part of beekeeping is kicking back and observing.

“Me and my wife will sit out in chairs, drink coffee and watch bees come and go. It is mostly just some quiet time when you get to observe organisms working,” he said. “Their bodies will look all white or yellow from the pollen that they’re carrying, the flowers are blooming and it’s really rewarding to see them working hard.”

Despite sharing his passion with is wife and two kids, Estevez performs most of the maintenance work because his wife is highly allergic to bees. 

“If a honey bee stings her, she dies,” he said. “But it is safe because bees only sting as a last resort when someone is trying to steal their resources. If you are no threat to them, they will leave you alone.”

When it comes to honey, the bees simply do not quit.

“The bees produce far too much honey for us to consume on our own, so we give it away to friends and family,” Estevez said.

Estevez seldom shares his passion for bees with his students.

“I’ve had Estevez as my homeroom teacher since seventh grade. I never knew he was a beekeeper,” junior Olivia Luchetti said. “I think it’s really cool because it’s not a very common hobby. I feel like students often forget that teachers have entire lives outside of school, meaning they have whole personalities and hobbies we don’t know about”

By Bella Kamon