By Steve Large

VACAVILLE (CBS13) – A Solano County beekeeper who lost millions of his bees in the LNU Lightning Complex Wildfire in August is making a slow and steady return to business.

Clay Ford’s beehives were incinerated in the fire. Through the help of his supporters, he is rebuilding his business.

“It was a bit overwhelming at first. In fact, so many people said, ‘Hey Clay, you need to set up a Venmo account. We want to help you out,’ ” Ford said.

Ford is a beekeeper whose year building up the business created such a buzz at Solano County farmers’ markets when people learned 73 of his 81 beehives burned down in the August wildfires. His customers campaigned to donate cash to get him back up and running.

“You know I’ve got so many friends who lost their houses and barns and property and fences, and you know I lost most of my bees,” Ford said.

An estimated million bees burned in the LNU Complex. Ford’s hives turned to ash.

“So actually we couldn’t get out there because literally everything was still burning and on fire,” Ford said.

Now with the help of locals, he’s rebuilding his beehive colonies to offer his loyal customers a sweet return on their investment.

“It’s been fun, sort of completing a circle you might say,” he said.

You can find Ford at the Andrews Park farmers’ market in Vacaville on Saturdays. He expects his new bees to be producing honey this spring.

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