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Big Island Bees.
Laryssa, bee docent, bares her arms to show visitors some busy bees.

Big Island Bees Museum and Tour

Field review by the editors.

Captain Cook, Big Island, Hawaii

With flowers in bloom year 'round, the Big Island of Hawaii is an exhausting place for a bee. A queen bee, who normally lives up to five years in North America, wears out after only two in Hawaii, according to Big Island Bees Museum and Tours -- and they should know. Hawaii's bees work for them -- an estimated 125 million bees pumping out as much as 600,000 pounds of honey every year.

Big Island Bees.
Bee Museum displays its exhibits on old beehives.

At Big Island Bees headquarters, a laid-back-looking place, visitors can walk through a small museum, learn about the history of bees in Hawaii (natives had to climb cliffs to get to natural beehives), and see the unique "apisculptures" of business owner Garnett Puett, who builds beeswax human heads that are later draped in honeycombs by real bees.

Big Island Bees.
An "apisculpture" serves as a bookend for some bee reading material.

The free tour lasts an hour. Visitors watch a video of honey extraction -- vats and centrifuges surrounded by thousands of enraged bees (which is why the process is only viewable on video) -- and then walk to a screened-in area in the bee yard, where they watch a "Bee Docent" disassemble a hive and point out the babies, drones, and overworked queen, all while surrounded by more buzzing, angry bees.

There's also a tasting room and retail shop, where visitors can buy items such as macadamia nut blossom honey and reusable sandwich bags coated in beeswax.

Big Island Bees Museum and Tour

82-1140 Meli Rd, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI
From Hwy 11, at milepost 111, turn south onto Napoopoo Rd. Keep bearing right on Napoopoo Rd, following signs to Kealakekua Bay. Turn right at Big Island Bees sign immediately past Hawaiian Host Macadamia Factory and Kealakekua Estates. Follow winding lane (Meli Rd) a quarter-mile. Turn right at Big Island Bees gate, and drive to the parking lot.
Museum M-F 10-4, Sa 10-2. Tours M-Sa by appt. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Hawaiians Kill Captain CookHawaiians Kill Captain Cook, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI - 2 mi.
Pu'uhonua - Place of RefugePu'uhonua - Place of Refuge, Honaunau, Big Island, HI - 3 mi.
Painted ChurchPainted Church, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI - 3 mi.
In the region:
Southernmost Point in the United States, Naalehu, Big Island, HI - 41 mi.

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