beekeeps and there stories tell us your story

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by riverrat, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    A few years ago I was at an auction that was selling off a good size lot of beekeeping equipment and related books. I was hanging around to buy a few of the books. As I collect older beekeeping books when I got what I wanted bought an old man came up and said young man you going to find out them bees dont read them same books you do. We had a laugh about it and then he went on to tell me how he had got started keeping bees as a kid. He said he lived down the road from an older beekeep. One day he stopped in and asked if the man would be interested in teaching how to keep bees. The old man agreed and told him to come by the next day and he would give him his first lesson. The next day he showed up with a veil and gloves the old man told him he didnt need that stuff to follow him. They went out back to a hive the old man pulled the top off the hive bees boiled out and the guy said he took a few stings after which the old man replaced the lid and told him that was his first lesson and if he came back the next day he would give him his next lesson. the ole man told me he went back and the beekeep was suprised to see him back. he went to get his veil and the beekeep again told him he didnt need it. They again went around back to the same hive the old man started to remove the top cover again, The guy said he stopped him and told the old timer that he wasnt there to get stung and if that was the case he was going home. The old man stopped and told him yesterday I showed you how to get stung today i will begin teaching you how not to get stung. The old man went on to tell the guy that he did that to everybody if they came back the next day he knew they was serious about learning about bees. wether the old man was a typical beekeep with a story or it was true. Im not sure but it sure made for some good listening.
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    years ago I was introduced to bees via my first mentor Frank Behealer (<the name is actually real, believe it or not???) who kept German Black bees which were easy to agitate, vengeful, and robust stinger.

    the allure began when I was riding down thru the little town of Eleanor, West Virginia with my dad and I noticed the older fellow with no veil and a short sleeve shirt pushing a wheel barrow with a beehive down the walk and headed towards his house. he evidently had the hive plugged although a small cloud of bees hovered around the wheel barrow. I was curious as to how such a fellow could be so immune to a stinging insect. a few days later with my home made veil (I think perhaps made from wedding veil material) and leather gloves and home made gautlets I was helping old frank with his bees. his library was a real plus for a young lad of 12.

    as my first mentor I still think of old Frank from time to time.
     

  3. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    When I look back on my life I see a number of early interactions w/ honeybees as precursers to today. Minor points that lead to where i am today.

    1. The observation hive in the Castle Museum of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
    2. The bee tree in the woods next to the play ground in elementary school.
    3. The bees in the wall of my Great Aunt in Iowa.
    4. The abandoned hive in the orchard pasture on a farm in NY where I worked for a year. I loved laying in the grass watching them come and go.
    5. Collecting a swarm w/ a friend of mine and when a couple of bees came in the kitchen house w/ us I picked them up and took them back outside, rather than squishing them.
    6. Buying our first hive in NC. Didn't know much, don't remember how we got them off of the truck, don't know what happened to them when they left or died. I suspect AFB. An early example of "education is expensive".
    7. Helping Lew LeCompte, my mentor, w/ his bees in his backyard. Buying a couple of hives from him. Doing research in the Historical Library of Colonial Williamsburg. Setting up an exhibit, complete w/ bees, in the Historic Area. Stung so bad around my ankle that I couldn't get my shoe on. Which was a great conversation starter w/ the visitors.
    8. Moved to Ohio to go to school at OSU/ATI, Wooster, where I studied for two years under Dr. Jim Tew. Lots of great memories there.
    9. Moved to NY and worked 20 years as an Apiary Inspector while building my business.
    10. Going to SC w/ my buddy Jon and the bees of course. Been going there 18(?) years.

    It has been interesting. I've enjoyed most of it. can't really point to anything that I wouldn't have done again. I could have done w/out some of the stinging incidences. But it showed what i could put up w/ and endure.

    My buddy Jon has taken me into some experiences that I wouldn't have had. Such as digging pallets of bees out of the snow to transport to SC or FL.
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    My barber was a beekeeper ( Frank Waddel ) he would always talk bees when i got a haircut. At that time my only contact with bees was cutting bee trees along the Big Sac river with my dad and uncles in the winter. Frank,showed me a better way to get honey and how intresting beekeeping was. I ordered 2 or3? 3lb. packages of Midnight bees and supplies from Sear & Roebuck and was hooked.That was 1964 or 1965,It was a way of life to cut bee trees with a crosscut saw and rob them out and if the tree was hollow enough we would roll it off into the river and come next June or July noodle cat fish out of it.I do miss those fish fries but not the honey with little pieces of bark embeded in the comb honey. Noodling is against law now, and probably was then too. Jack
     
  5. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    It began in October of 2002 when I cut down a dead Ash tree for firewood. I never knew it was home to Honey Bees till I had nearly all the lower part blocked up to split into fire wood size.
    Kare my wife had told me of watching a PBS program about the wild honey bees dieing out because of a mite. Since we had about 2,000sq.ft. Of perennial flowerbeds at that time I didn’t want the bees to die. I tried to find a local beekeeper to help me save them to no avail. I then turned to the Internet, where I found Jim, a West Michigan beekeeper.
    Jim told me what I needed to do to get the bees thru the winter, which did work.
    After fixing things so the bees would over winter I discovered, I had questions about honeybees. Jim was kind and answered all my questions and told me other things also. Jim suggested that when spring came I should take steps to get the wild bees in a standard hive box and become a beekeeper. Before Jim left with his honey bees for the winter in Flordia he explained just how I should go about doing that.
    Some how I managed to loose Jims E Mail address, I no longer had him to ask for advice when spring arrived. I bungled my way thru but still need some answers. Once again the internet saved my neck. I met Joel a beekeeper in Missouri. Joel had years of experince which he shared with me. I told him that after a week it looked like the girls were not going up into the hives. Joel sent me a frame of drawn comb, I didn't even know what drawn comb was. After a month with much bee activity they just were not around any more. After another two weeks with no bees around, Joel said they had probably found a new home on their own because there was some thing about the hives they must have not liked. Joel told me of a place here in Michigan where I could buy a nuc of bees. I took the frame I had built to hold the hives around the log down when I removed the hive bodies. A mouse had been in there, Joel told me that would make the bees leave.
    He also told me he hadn't been feeling well and had went to the doctor. Joel told me that he might not make it to harvest any more honey, said what comes about just happens for a reason. I never heard from Joel after the last week in May 2003. I sent snail mail and e mails to no avail.
    I was able to find Jims address latter that summer though. I continue to write him about the bees. I was surprized to have him invite me to go to queen rearing school with him in May 2004.

    That first nuc of bees didn't live thru the winter. I joined a new club in Febuary 2003 and ordered two 3 pound packages of bees. Both of them were sick one showing signs the first inspection the second week they were in the hive. We killed them. The second colony waited till the second inspection to show signs at 30 days. We killed them also. I decided I wasn't going to keep putting money into bees that for me were impssiable to keep alive.
    the club members donated swarms so I have 5 happy hives going into winter.

    Today we are well over 100 colonies and i donate bees to club members who need help.

    I also had a second tree which was home to honey bees on my property but had knowen about that one. That one is a story of it's own.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I was eight years old and John Grochell gave me 4 or 5 complete hives, a pair of gloves and old veil. I did not know anything about bees so it was off to the library for plenty of books and a catalog from Walter Kelley. John died shortly after giving the bees to me so I had no mentor to show me the way. I fumbled around for several years and loved my bees to death!! After getting a little grasp on what was really going on in the bee world I started growing my hives and was up to around 20 or 25 by age 14 and producing a little honey for sale when AFB hit and wiped out about half of my hives. I was going to buy 30 hives from Ray Idell, an older beek that was retiring, and after doing inspections on his hives all were infected with AFB, he burned everything, what a way to retire. I built my numbers back up and then kind of lost interest for a couple of years even though there was always one or two hives of bees on the farm. My flame for the bees was fanned again last year when the one hive left swarmed, my wife found them in a tall cedar tree, she raised me up in the front end loader to get them and it is on again. The bees have always fascinated me and always will.

    G3
     
  7. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    As a very young girl,maybe 5 or 6,I developed a love for bees.(except sweat bees) On a spring afternoon I would be picking flowers for mom in the back yard and feel a sharp pain on my little hand or fingers. I would start screaming and swatting at the buzzing thing that flew out of my flower while running as fast as I could to Mama. She would make it feel all better, for sure!
    I hated bees then; when Mama told me that bees were what stung my hands. Daddy, defending the bees, told me that not all bees sting people just because. He said that bees could sense when someone was scared and it made them scared too, so they would sting them. Also, the bee might have been defending itself, for fear that I was going to kill it. Daddy also said there were lots of other bees too, besides sweat bees. Bees that pollinated the pretty flowers I picked and bees that made honey. The honey that I rreeaallyy liked to eat!
    So, I tried to give the bees a second chance to earn my favor, and they did!
    On another sunny day I was outside playing with my dolls when I began to hear a faint buzzing. my heart sped up and I held very still as the sound came closer. When the buzzing thing came close enough for me to see it I realized it was a bumble bee. Probably my biggest fear at the time. Remembering what Daddy told me, I breathed in deeply and tried not to be afraid. For what seemed like an hour, I watched this fuzzy thing fly about. It investigated my dolls and my feet, then the air above them, then my arms, shoulders, and head. Sweat rolled down my face, the bee was out of sight but I could still hear the buzzing. A few moments later it reappeared. It flew about my arms again and decided to land this time. I held my breath and watched as the insect started walking around, almost like it was looking for something. It tickled my arm hairs for a moment, and to keep from swatting it I had to clench my leg with my other fist. Then, the bee began to clean itself, like the flies on the windows of the house did. I relaxed my fist and breathed a little more. Then, without any warning, it happened.
    It was rolling on my arm!! As if I was it's playmate! the fuzzy bumble bee was rolling back and forth on my arm licking me! I let out a little relieved giggle and began to talk to my new friend. It stayed for a little time, then flew away. I don't remember being stung any after that, except by the hateful sweat bees.
    My love for bees grew and strengthened with me after that. I started learning about honey bees and they fascinated me. The thought of keeping bees in your back yard like pets sparked my curiosity. Especially since I had heard of bee charmers and saw one in a movie. I really wanted bees then, but mama said I was too little. So I waited for a while, then lost interest as I learned about other things that I liked.
    Just after my 14th birthday mama asked me if I wanted bees, she said that there was a man on the Homesteading Board who would teach us how to keep bees!
    Having forgotten about my infatuation with them, I asked her what for. She said for honey and because I wanted them. Then she reminded me of my love for the bees. I began to see bees around again, they would come up to me while I was working outside and once my brothers and I picked one up off the ground and fed it some honey.
    So, Mama took us to the classes in Guilford County, NC. There we met our mentor, Idee, and my Mom and I became certified beekeepers, after passing the tests, of course.
    We have been beekeeping for 3 years now and love every minute of it!
     
  8. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    There isn't room on a jar label for these stories, but I bet if one were to make a small hang tag w/ their story on it, that would sell your honey, it would increase your sales, and build a loyal customer base.

    I love reading what others have done and are doing and their asperations. It's inspiring. I can only imagine that honey eaters would love to hear these stories too.
     
  9. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I couldnt agree with you more on this one.