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Author Topic: Why did you get into Beekeeping?  (Read 365 times)

Online CoolBees

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Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« on: July 13, 2019, 05:44:51 pm »
I thought it might be fun to share stories of how we each got into keeping bees.

Here's my story: we moved to a rural area in the early 2000's. For a couple of years everything was ok. Then my wife started to develop allergies each spring. As the years went by, her allergies got worse. By 2012 her eyes were swollen mostly shut for 2 months during the worst pollen times. Some days she couldn't drive a car. She refused to take any medication - something I respect her for.

From somewhere in my childhood I remembered learning that she could get relief from her allergies if we had honey made from the same plants that were causing her problems. So I went to the local farmers markets and began asking questions of the various Honey vendors. I didn't like their answers - the honey wasn't "local" enough for me. The only solution - to my view - was to get my own bees. But how? ... when you don't know anything? ... you don't even know where to begin ...

In 2014 I discovered that a long time family friend kept bees. I asked him how to do it, and he volunteered to bring some swarm traps, and hives over to me. He helped me set everything up, and offered advice. In early 2015 I caught my 1st swarm. Later that year, we caught a 2nd. I split those 2 into 4 hives.

The honey from the bees solved my wife's allergies completely. It didn't "cure" her - she has to take a teaspoon of honey every day during the allergy season. When she does, she has ZERO symptoms. However, she forgets a lot, so everytime I hear her sneezing more than once a minute, I ask her, "did you eat your honey?" ... (of course the answer is always "I forgot"  :cheesy:).

In the fall/winter of 2016 all my hives died. I went back into studying bees. I learned much more, found why the bees died, and also found Beemaster. What a great place!  :grin:

In 2018 we were running low on honey - so I asked my friend for a couple of frames of brood and stores. He was kind enough to agree. This year we produced over 100 lbs of honey. I figure to keep bees for the rest of my life.

Thats my story. It would be fun to read all the unique stories of what brought each of you into the world of Beekeeping. It your turn now ...  :cool:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 08:59:50 pm »
Way back in '91 my dad died and I ended up with a lot of equipment and two neglected hives. Being totally new at bee keeping the hives didn't make it and then mites appeared in most store bought bees. Kept trying and after about five years had a honey crop. Since I've moved to Florida it's become a lot easier and I'm hoping to keep at it as long as I can heft a super.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 09:50:07 pm »
Good story Alan, really interesting.  Thank you for sharing. Glad the honey helped you wife.

Sorry you lost your Dad beeboy01. Though you have had trouble way to hang in there with your bees! Where did you live before Florida?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 12:43:22 am by Ben Framed »
Jeremiah 31:3 King James Version
3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Offline Sputnik

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 08:26:36 am »
I helped my Grandfather with his bees, I helped my Dad with his bees. Now my Grandson helps with our bees. I just enjoy working the garden and keeping bees. It makes for some fine food on the table.

Offline jtcmedic

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 09:30:31 am »
Was reading and for one reason or another started to learn about bees. Wanted to share with my kids and build some hives force me to learn something new. Well that was 4 years ago and now gone from 1 to 16 hives and found it is very calming and so enjoyable. After a bad shift I can come home and work the bees and find a calm moment. Also really enjoy Thea my whole family jumps in and helps.

Offline Mamm7215

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 12:27:14 pm »
2 neighbors have bees and I already have backyard chickens so I thought it seemed only right to get a hive.  Figured I?d just keep it small to start.  Hahahahaha.  Right.  They?ve done really well in spite of me but I?m learning a lot and really enjoy it.  Started June of this year.  May even split if the last expansion box doesn?t stem the odd queen cell popping up.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2019, 06:59:36 pm »
Great story, Alan!

Homeopathic therapy -- like getting inoculations or Moses holding up a serpent on a stick when snakes were in the camp.

Cleaning out an old house for a bumper crop of hay, I found beekeeping equipment and a book, The Hive and the Honeybee.  I was 14 and have loved it ever since.

Online Xerox

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2019, 07:05:15 pm »
I was walking through my grocery store and saw beekeeping supplies. I thought it would be a cool hobby and in August of last year I bought my first hive. I bought bees this March and they came on the 29th of April. I've learned so much about this hobby and will do it for years.

Online CoolBees

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2019, 07:29:38 pm »
Great stories All.  Got to wondering recently, "why do other people get into bees?"

I can tell about my beek friend - his tiny backyard attracts swarms like no tomorrow - 9 that I know of this year. Finally he said "Guess I should get some hives for them"  :grin:

I had a feeling everyone's story would be unique ... keep the them coming  :grin:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2019, 07:40:46 pm »
When I was a boy, I was reading a foxfire book. It featured an only timer in the Application Mountains which kept bees, the old way, using bee gums. This was very interesting to me and must have sparked an interest. A while later, My uncle invited me to tag along with him and one of his co-workers to an open invitation event at a MEMPHIS Beekeepers Association meeting. This event was highly publicized by The Memphis Commercial Appeal News Paper.  It Just so happened that Tim Durham, now known as the Walls Bee Man now famed on YouTube, was the speaker that night. Of course back in those days YouTube did not exist. Tim was really a charismatic speaker and held the crowds interest. He was a well rounded speaker, never letting boredom set in. The Place was absolutely packed. My uncle became a beekeeper as a result, so did his co-worker. Though I did not enter beekeeping at that time, I would tag along with my uncle while working his bees from time to time. This also added to my interest. This impression never left me and my interest came and faded through the years, time and time again, until the bug finally bit harder. I searched for more information concerning bees and found this forum. That was about 10-12 years ago. I spent a little spare time reading here, but I did not join the forum. I knew I did not have the time to get into beekeeping  at that point. There were several folks here that stood out to me and made an impression. Brian D Bray and Michael Bush, were two bit there were others which were equally enthusiastic and impressive in their topics and knowledge. I went on with my business, only thinking about beekeeping from time to time, but always mindful of bees each time I would  see them. Finally;  I happened upon a video featuring JP The Bee Man and his good buddy Schawee. I watched many of these videos, which concentrated on cutouts, and swarm removals.. Finally I knew I could resist no longer. I remembered this forum. Read much here and joined after talking to JP on the phone, he gave basic advise as how to get started with cutouts. And a text or two to Schawee, giving me general advise on what to charge for the  first cutout. I (EARNED) my first hive.... It was a hot day and in full sun! Now here I am today. Thanks to each of you here for your answering my many questions this past year. As my friend Mr Van says, blessing to each of you.
Phillip
Jeremiah 31:3 King James Version
3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 08:09:59 pm »
Flow Hive.

But I had the wits to figure you had to keep bees before getting special equipment, and it's cheaper to learn on standard stuff. And also I could get started earlier if I didn't have to save up all that $$.   So I got one nuc and three 8-medium boxes with the starter set in 20-- 14 or 15 I can't remember. 

Then a friend of my wife gave me a whole bunch of boxes and frames, and I didn't have the wits to disinfect, so I just used them and made a couple splits the next year. Thank God they were clean, and really thank God for that present, because that really got me going  --  I would have dragged my feet if I had to buy all the equipment new.

Then I found a table saw for cheap.  I'm not good with it but "the bees don't mind." and I have all my fingers.  It's the little stuff: the tops and bottoms, the entrance reducers and robber screens, the shims, etc. They are all real basic and easy to make from scrap wood and that stuff really $$adds up if you buy it, so that was a big help.

Then I got to talking to Wally and he told me about Waynes bees. I bought a couple queens from Keith and I'm so-far-so-good done with medicines.   

Now I'm not so worried about bees surviving and I'm up to a "sustainable" number, and I'm just learning to better manage the bees over the course of a year to get that early honey, and have some bees for local folks to buy. If I can muster the energy, I think I could do a better job of monitoring mite loads to select breeder queens for mite/disease resistance (better than just survival), and improve the productivity. I've been (very modestly) profitable the last couple years and I'm starting to have higher goals (five kids and no college fund yet).  So I'm going to go ahead and run the home yard here up to 25ish hives, I've got another yard at a farm we'll go up to 20+ and I've got a little space on my delivery route I can raise queens and stash swarms. 

But I've been very fortunate, so far, not to have any real setbacks like a pesticide kill or a severe weather event loss. So I try to remember to be thankful even while having bigger goals   :)

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2019, 08:38:01 pm »
All good interesting post, good idea for a topic Alan.
Phillip

''Thank God they were clean, and really thank God for that present''  Thanks Matt for recognizing Gods Blessings to us ..
Jeremiah 31:3 King James Version
3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 04:38:26 am »
It all started in the womb. The sound of hundreds of piping queens on the house table every night, all night, got me kicking.  I emerged in March. Soon there was a plastic hive tool in one hand, a toy teapot as a smoker in the other, queen cage was my pacifier. Piping queens on the nightstand always calmed the babyme to sleep.

I ultimately left the bees altogether for awhile. Led another life that consumed all the time available. Then out of the blue a single hive box with a caught swarm in it showed up in the back yard after my son had been working the summer in the commercial honey shop. Haven't been able to shake the bees since. More and more boxes appear and the personal challenge is how fast and how efficiently I can fill them. The queens remain my No.1 passion.

I suppose after generations, it is so entrenched in the bloodline that there really is no getting away permanently.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 05:40:40 am by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Bushpilot

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2019, 04:39:18 pm »
A friend of my daughter came upon some boxes, and thought he might use them. He didn't, so he gave them to me. Then my wife saw a beekeeping class advertised in the local paper.

And here we are, 3 years later, with 12 hives in the yard.

Offline Bee North

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2019, 04:48:03 pm »
Thanks for sharing your stories.

For me its about food and where its from...real organic food!

Well i grew up on a wheat and sheep farm. We always grew our own veg and hunted as well. Our dams were stocked with fish and full of fresh water crays ( yabbies).
Life changes and i ended up in a city. But when my first child came along to join us i had to get some soil. I didnt want to raise him (them now) with him thinking.food came from a packet.

We started with fruit trees and veg. Then came chickens and of course...after a years reading the bees! Nothing makes me happier than seeing my 3yo sitting under a fruit tree eating fruit he tore off, that my girls pollinated. Or, sneaking a honey "dip" as he gouges his finger into a frame ready for extraction! Im sure you can all relate.
Like you Alan, my wife and eldest suffer from allergies.  The honey helps, we also pinch a little pollen when we can. Another deciding factor not that i needed one...im so hooked on bees!




Offline bobll

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2019, 05:59:55 pm »
A friend has a few hobby hives, and it piqued my interest, so I watched a few youtube videos, which started me daydreaming, which led to a further year of MANY youtube videos and scouring webstites. Then, in a wishful, off-hand way, I scraped together enough money to build a long langstroth box and purchased unassembled frames. If it failed to entice a feral swarm, I wouldn't lose anything...but it did. I find beekeeping fascinating, and I still daydream for more.

Online CoolBees

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2019, 06:04:49 pm »
All of your stories are great!

I remember as a child, my dad built a large platform on the side of our hill - large enough to hold 40-50 hives (I'm estimating from long-ago memories). He put 2 hives on the platform to get started. Then he got stung and had a bad reaction. He went out and got a full-body bee suit. On his next attempt, a bee got into his suit and stung him. That was the end. He never touched the bees again. We were all under explicit instructions to "never go near that platform - Ever". ... and my dad was a terrifying man ...

Well ... Lil me couldn't obey. I build an entire fort under that platform that I used for years. Since nobody went near it, nobody knew I was there. I'd sit in my fort and watch the bees thru the gaps in the boards above - coming-and-going about their business just over my head. May a summers day found me watching them with great satisfaction and intrigue. At first I was intimidated by them, but not for long. I never got stung by one of them.

When I finally got bees of my own in 2015 - I wasn't worried or bothered by them - the relaxed confidence I learned as a child carried with me. (I'll admit to a few stomach flutters during my first full-hive inspection  :grin:). Today I have a really bad habit of sticking my nose right into their entrance - to see what going on inside.  :cheesy:

Bees are both amazing and addictive, and all the different stories about them are even better.  :cool:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline StraferX

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2019, 10:34:44 am »
I grew up on a dairy farm and we were surrounded by Amish who kept bee's. I was always fascinated by how they worked them and would watch the hives for hours. I grew up always wanting to get a few hives and studied them for years.

Last winter my daughter interviewed the local bee keeping association and came home and asked if we could do some bees. Well That night I ordered every thing needed and April 24th 2 packages showed up. I wont lie, that first install was pleasantly terrifying and now each inspection is amazingly exciting. Nothing like opening a box with thousands of bees, checking them out and the art of planning the next step. This is something I should have done many many moons ago and I see beekeeping well into my future.

Not many in my neck of the woods look at natural beekeeping in a positive light which only fuels my fire to let it happen and learn more.
As for me and my house, We WILL serve the Lord.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2019, 09:39:53 am »
Wife wanted bees for her gardens.  She is allergic so it became my job from day one.  End of story.
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Offline yes2matt

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Re: Why did you get into Beekeeping?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2019, 08:47:09 am »
Wife wanted bees for her gardens.  She is allergic so it became my job from day one.  End of story.

I thought it was going to be something we did together.  But then she got to reading the "barefoot" book and telling me not to do this, not to do that,  ... you know I'm a pretty hands-on kind of guy so that just wasn't going to work for long. :)