Home‎ > ‎

About Peace Bees

Peace Bees is the culmination of Alex Lesniak's, "The Bee Girl", love for the peaceful honey bee.  This all started many years ago with a 4-H project and a passion for the environment.   

Over the years, demand for classroom visits and appearances has grew beyond what she could accommodate so this site is designed to share her activities with teachers, scout leaders and anyone else interested in honey bees. 

We have partnered with The Unity Gardens to place bee hives at some of their gardens and teach their adult and youth beekeeping classes. This effort stems from the importance of improving honey bee health, but also the health of the community. We whole heatedly support the mission of The Unity Gardens and share their goal to "...provide food for those in need & bring diverse people together to grow, harvest, share, and eat healthy food." Through this partnership the "team" changed a decades old law in South Bend Indiana that kept home owners from keeping honey bees. It should not be illegal to grow your own food. 

The latest effort is to grow our apiaries to support sales of honey, bees, queens and other hive products. We are working to develop programs to bring employment and apprenticeships in the beekeeping industry to the South Bend area. Let’s make South Bend Honey Bee Town USA! 

Save the bees, save your food and bee the change.

Image courtesy McDonald's Studio

  The Team

Alex Lesniak, Founder and Board Chair – Alex is a graduate of Purdue University Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine. She is currently working  on her Masters degree in Humane Education through Valparaiso University and the Institute of Humane Education. Alex has been a Beekeeper since 2005. Among her many service honors she was the 2007 Indiana Beekeepers Association Young Beekeeper Of The Year and 2011 Indiana Honey Princess. She has gone on service and research trips to Romania with Purdue and Andegada, B.V.I. with the Fort Worth Zoo. Alex donates much of her spare time to several charities and is the Supervisor of College Crew Committee for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. She is a 4-H leader for St. Joseph County and a 4-H Judge in Koskiusko County and received the St. Joseph County Outstanding 4-H Leader Award. Alex is still in demand for her honey bee presentations, contributes her guidance and vision to the business, and assists in the apiary as time permits. 

Steve Lesniak, Chief Operations Officer – Steve has a degree in Fine Art Photography from Ball State University with experience in advertising. He has a certificate in Programming from DePaul University and over 20 years experience in Information Technology with more than half as a Manager/Director. Steve has been a beekeeper since 2005. He is the St. Joseph County 4-H Beekeeping Superintendent, and President of Greene Township 4-H Advisory Board, leader for Photography, Beekeeping and adviser for Jr. Leaders and received the St. Joseph County Outstanding 4-H Leader Award. He also teaches adult beekeeping courses for the The Unity Gardens and gives honey bee talks and presentations in the community. Steve is the Coordinator for a 2014-2015 USDA SARE Grant FNC14-957 in partnership with Tim Ives of Ives Hives, LLC. He is the head apiarist for Peace Bees and manages all aspects of the business.

Jonelle Lesniak, Chief Product Officer – Jonelle has a degree in Education from Ball State University and is a veteran K-8 teacher with nearly 30 years experience. She has been a beekeeper since 2005. She is a Greene Township 4-H board member and served as Township Coordinator, County Advisory Board member as well as a leader for Photography, Computers and adviser for Jr. Leaders and received the St. Joseph County Outstanding 4-H Leader Award. Jonelle uses her education experience to hone the Peace Bees educational programs and is working on building Common Core based honey bee curriculum for grades K through 8. She assists in the apiary and teaches youth classes for both Peace Bees and The Unity Gardens. Jonelle assists with managing the business and is in charge of quality control from classes to hive products.

Tim Ives, Advisory Board Member and Apiary Director – Tim is a 20+ year Union Carpenter turned beekeeper with over 150 colonies. Tim is has been a beekeeper since 2002 and is president of Ives Hives, LLC. He is known around the country for his non-conventional beekeeping methods and highly successful techniques. Tim is defying the odds and beating honey bee colony decline by achieving record results. Tim is also the Apiary Director for The Unity Gardens and partner in the 2014-2015 USDA SARE grant with Peace Bees. He advises Peace Bee on beekeeping techniques and assists in the educational programs. 

John Simala, Advisory Board Member and Financial Advisor– John holds a degree in Psychology from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. John has experience teaching advanced topics in History and Sociology, administration of a community oriented non for profit organization as well as owning his own successful business for 40 years. He has also been a long-time active member of several community service organizations. John uses his broad experience to advise Peace Bees regarding financial, social and business decisions.