IN A GRASSY FIELD near Arroyo Hondo, surrounded by apricot, plum, cherry, pear, and apple trees, Moira O’Hanlon keeps a sanctuary for one particular species. “Bees are amazing,” says O’Hanlon, who has been tending her hives since 2003. “They help flowers and trees. Everything they produce is beneficial.”
In 2016, she started making skin-care products with beeswax, raw honey, propolis, and royal jelly while caring for her mother, who had advanced dementia. “She was getting terrible contusions on her legs that were not healing,” O’Hanlon says. Doctors prescribed chemical-laden ointments that didn’t help the painful wounds.
“I went into my apiary and a lightbulb went on,” she recalls. “I realized I had everything I needed to heal her skin right there. That’s when I started formulating the Honeybee Balm.”
Today, O’Hanlon’s Taos Bee products range from moisturizing serums, sunscreen balms, and skin creams to natural beeswax candles and honey dippers. All are made in small batches without synthetic dyes, fragrances, parabens, or other chemicals. O’Hanlon hand-stamps the labels and uses compostable, recyclable, and biodegradable materials for her packaging.
The relationship O’Hanlon has with her bees is reciprocal: She gives them all the necessities for a sweet life, and they create the ingredients for her products and pollinate her orchard. “I get a lot of fruit,” she says.