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After settling into a new life on the "Big Island" of Hawaii in late 2017, Barbara and her husband, Said Shandala, began taming parts of their little "jungle." Slowly replacing invasive trees with pollinator-friendly gardens, they planted flowering trees, tropical fruits, palms, vegetables, herbs, blossoming shrubs, and ornamental flowers between and underneath the tree canopy in small, "manageable" pockets of the property, Today, the gardens at Pualani Bee Farm provide an abundance of enjoyment for their family, bees, and the farm's guest. The essence of the tropical rainforest, however, remains intact with the majority of the property left in a state of wild and uninhibited growth.

2019 Kilauea volcano eruption at Kapoho

In 2018, the idyllic life in Wa'a Wa'a was temporarily interrupted by the eruption of Kilauea volcano in the lower east rift zone, only a few miles from Barbara and Said's home. Over the ensuing three months, massive lava flows destroyed hundreds of homes, fruit and orchid farms, large swaths of the rainforest, and buried the bayside community of Kapoho, which was known among beekeepers as the "gold coast" of Hawaii Island's honey production, When done, the eruption left behind a 9-mile stretch of steaming hot lava, new black sand beaches, and a peninsula jutting one mile out into the Pacific Ocean where previously there had a bay. 

With Kapoho's homes now buried 20 feet below the new lava surface, the evacuated bee colonies, which had been placed previously on various properties throughout the community, needed to be relocated to new homes. The neighboring coastal community of Waʻa Waʻa, which had been spared Kilauea's destruction, soon became the epicenter of honeybee relocation efforts. So, once the proverbial (and literal) dust of the volcanic eruption settled, Barbara and Said embraced the opportunity to host beehives on their property in Waʻa Waʻa


Through a mutual friend, they contacted Scott Nelson, master beekeeper and owner of Hamakua Apiaries (now Raw Hawaiian Honey Company), who brought a truckload of beehives to relocate on a hill-top clearing just beyond their house. The couple soon became enamored with their industrious little bee guests, whose pollinating activities brought color and fruition to their rainforest-immersed gardens. Scott encouraged them to acquire their own hives and start a honey business. With Scottʻs continued guidance and beekeeping mentorship, Pualani Bee Farm came to be in the fall of 2020 as a small, single-estate bee yard. Fostering a close symbiotic relationship between bees and humans, Pualani Bee Farm produces an ever-changing range of seasonally available, high-quality artisanal honey and hive products.

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