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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    About 1963 I was looking for a good 4H project when I spotted this crazy old man pushing a wheelbarrow down the sidewalk with a strong two story hive in the bucket. As it turned out he was the local beekeeper and alcoholic and believe it or not his name was Frank Beheler. He kept what we call German Black Bees...mean as hell. He and I poked around the bees that summer and the Germans poked me at every opportunity. Mr Beheler showed me how and what to order and by the next spring I was installing my first package. A few years later my family moved to central Florida (which was largely a citrus and truck farm area in those days) and I soon joined up with this ancient old commercial beekeeper (cannot remember his name). I would help him work the bees and extract honey when the time came. The smell of cirtrus honey hanging in the air is like a faded photograph that lingers at the edge of my memory still. Met up with a Texas beekeeper in the 70's who made up those packages that gds talked about coming from Sears. At this point I began raising a few queens for his spring increase and assisted him in moving bees north and south (North Dakota and Texas Panhaldle) for a couple of seasons. Migratory beekeeping is brutal work; I would not recommend it to anyone and I would not have passed it up for the world. Pretty much pushed the bees aside during the 80's since everyone (including me) became a bit overworried about the African bee problem. Started digging out my old equipment 4 years back, bought a few packages and I have been slowly building a small apiary from the ground up. I buy a handful of queens from a very local and very well know queen breeder just to keep new genes flowing into my hives, but I raise most of my own queens for replacement and increase purposes. Just Being.....a panther passing in the night...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    342

    Post

    Another one of us whose Dad had bees for the honey and for pollinating his incredible garden crops. Never paid much attention back then except when the jars of honey got sent to college, new apartment, new house, etc.

    Now that hubby and I are settling down (a bit)and doing the boomer quality of life change and, being old hippies at heart, we've ended up with 30 acres in WI, native plants (I teach horticulture with emphasis on IPM and entomology), rescue animals (cats, dogs, llamas, p-bellies,pygmy goats), chickens (Americaunas), vermicomposting, fish in the pond, and now bees with Dad's old equipment as the starter. Hopefully now Dad will be on the recieving end of the honey gifts.
    Buy locally, buy only humanely raised animals, eat in season, keep bees!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alpine, NY (near Cayuga Lake)
    Posts
    107

    Post

    OK Lesli, sea monkeys?!
    Yeah, yeah. I'm 40. Remember the ads in the comic books? Ooo.
    Lesli<br /> <a href=\"http://beeyard.blogspot.com/\" target=\"_blank\">http://beeyard.blogspot.com/</a>

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bend, TX USA
    Posts
    69

    Post

    tecumseh,

    My grampa used to keep bees and his were those old German bees. You know, they talk about the AHB, but they ain't got nothin' on those German bees. They would sting you if you got in the way of there flower!

    Lew Best,
    Bend is about an hour west of Killeen. It's pretty tiny, but it's on the map (certain maps - it's on the state highways map).

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

    Post

    Thanks gds

    Found it.

    Lew

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    gds sezs: You know, they talk about the AHB, but they ain't got nothin' on those German bees. tecumseh replies: Exactly. Later on I would nickname those german black bees as good nazi bees. What I really remember was suiting up when we got within 100 yards of old man Beheler's out yards and don't think about taking your armor off until you were a mile down the road. Good to see some Texas beekeeper on board. panther passing in the night...

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Filer, Idaho USA
    Posts
    7

    Post

    I got started back in 1971 when my dad and a friend decided to become commercial beekeepers. They got up to about 600 hives before they split my dad moved back to s. Calif. and sold out. I worked one more summer for his partner raising and grafting queens. Then I moved to S. Calif. and forgot about the bees for 30 some years. Moved to Idaho and 4 acres 5 years ago. Had a good job for a couple of years now I am trying to get into the commercial beekeeping business again should have enough hives this year for a 2 frame extractor. Next year I hope I will have to get a electric one. STeve

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,526

    Post

    Present age 83. Started with first handmade
    hive (all simple hand tools) in 1934. With bees
    all time except 3 years in WWII and 6 years in
    veterinary college (Texas A&M)
    It would be a shame if Doc's story and others are not recorded and preserved. I know that various universities and state historical associations have oral history programs that graduate students use. An archive of beekeeper stories from Doc and others across the country would be invaluable.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    984

    Post

    Took beekeeping in collage as a easy class and got my first two colonies in 1977. Increased to 10 colonies in 1979 and to 45 in 1982. I made it to 100 and stayed at between 100 and 125 until a couple of years ago when tobacco farming went to hell. I now have 500+ with plans to have 1200 in near future. Rick

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    since a similar thread (how it all started) has been a front page item I thought I would try to 'bump' this thread to the front of the line....

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    133

    Post

    I started with one hive in 1976 when I was in graduate school at the University of North Dakota.

    I next year I had two hives. Farmer across the road raised beans first year and sunflowers the second. I got 100 punds of honey first year and 200 second.

    I joined USAF and quit keeping bees. Back in early 1990s, I started keeping bees again in Minnesota. I quite in 1996 due to health reasons. I started up again this year with three hives because I missed the bees too much. Found the problems with resistant varroa and AFB very frustrating, but the fun of keeping bees is worht the hassle. Besides, it is important to save the beees and add new young beekeepers to our ranks.

    I don't intend to stop keeping bees now until I croak. I'm 53, so that may be a few years away yet.

    Ron
    Butterchurn<br /><br />Diplomacy is the art of saying \'Nice doggie\' until you can find a rock. <br /><br />Will Rogers

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    123

    Post

    In the mid-80's I was introduced to bees by a friend in Littleton, Colorado. I kept one hive in my yard for a year, not having a clue of what I was doing. I enjoyed watching them though as did the neighborhood kids. When I moved to Texas in 1988 my wife said no bees in the yard because our two daughters were young and she was worried about what might happen. So, for 12 years I gave it up. After moving to Sacramento five years ago I decided to set up a hive again and now keep three of them. I still have a limited understanding of what's going on but I enjoy working with "my bugs" as does my elderly father. I keep them in his back yard and it gives me a good excuse to spend lots of time over there. Dad and I sit out by the hives and tell lies to each other about things we know nothing about. He's 83 and I'm 51 - two old curmudgeons having a good time together!
    Being lucky can sometimes overcome a lack of preparation. The only problem is that you can't plan on being lucky!

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Post

    I started with 2 hives in 1964 when I was in boy scouts. In 1970 when I came back from Vietnam disabled. I took my disability check and purchased a beekeeping business with 250 hives and all equipment that came with it. After 6 years I had built up to 500 hives and 2 flat bed semi trailers and went on the road more pollinating. The normal route took me from Michigan to Florida. Last year after all the hurricanes the farmers in Florida called and said that all the orchards were decimated and they didn't need bees. I packed all the hives to California to do almonds. While there one of the growers made me an offer that I could not refuse. He set his son up in beekeeping. The reason he said he was afraid that he would not be able to get bees next year.
    So now I am retired but missed the bees so I have started 8 new hives on the property to go with the original 2 I started with.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  14. #34
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    635

    Post

    I seen an observation when i was grade 1 and was totally obsessed from that point on. I begged my mom for 6 1/2 years to let me have a hive. then in aug of 87' just before i went into grade 8, I got my first hive and got my dad involved, we started "fraser valley honey" and in 92' we had bumper crop of 28,000 lbs from 160 hives. we never had more than 210 hives.

    my mom passed away in 2002 and we sold them but i kept back 12 hives and some equipment. now here i am again with a 100 hives in my own operation and my goal is to get up to 300 to 500 hives.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Loudon Tn USA
    Posts
    52

    Post

    I have always been curious about beekeeping. When I bought my house about 4 years ago I noticed bees going in and out of a hole in a dead tree on the back oy my place. Well I thought, man that's intresting. I had thought that all the bees had been killed off by the mites, and it was a very rare thing to even see a bee around here. Well, after a couple of years those bees were still there and I saw an article about the local beekeepers giving a short course on beekeeping I went and I became hooked. I ordered a package and bought a hive fron a local beekeeper. I wanted those bees in that dead tree, but the top blew out of it and the bees left.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Centeral Minnesota
    Posts
    142

    Post

    I started being intersted in bees 3 Years ago for no apparent reason. I just enjoy them, even though I dislike honey. I started my first hive last year because my dad bought me one for Christams. I read, read, read, read, and read [img]smile.gif[/img] The hive died and I bought two more. Now I have 3 up and going even though I wish I had more. I just turned 14, so when I'm 40 who knows how many hives all have? I'm HOOKED though! Lots of Fun!

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    napoleon ohio
    Posts
    769

    Post

    My Dad and Grandma had bee when i was a kid say late 60s to thru the 70s.I tremeber some of the swarms dad got and trideing to grandmas with bees buzzing all over inside the van.But i never got bees till 5 years ago.Got married she said no bees.Got divorced and a few years later i got my first bees.One of the guys at work use to keep bees and was still on the local PD call list for swarms.He brought the swarm to my house and i was hooked.Have 10 hives now and more to come.
    Bob
    Mitch KD8IMF

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

    Post

    In 1958, when I was 13, a beekeeper moved in next to my best friend's house in Yuba City, CA. Looking back, I think his ulterior motive in getting Dick and I started was twofold. One was to get cheap labor and the other was to get the locals to accept his bees in their neighborhood. Our first hive was placed on the roof of Dick's guest house. Dick and I lived in that hive and eventually it died out.

    I was addicted. I tried to always have them where I lived. The most difficult was when I was in the military. I worked in the magazine area at El Toro, CA 1966-68. I kept 3 swarms in Zuni rocket covers (look kind of like straw skeps). I haven't been without my bees since. My low point was when the mites wiped me out 3 years ago. I purchased 2 Russian nucs from Jester Bee Co. These are the only bees I have ever purchased to that point. This year I purchased two more nucs from Jester and collected several swarms.

    GDS wondered about Sears Robuck and Co. selling bees. You bet they did. You could buy the equipment and package bees through their Farm and Ranch Catalog.
    They sold 2 races as I remember, Italians and Midnights.
    I always enjoyed thumbing through the catalog, but couldn't afford to buy anything. My mentor showed me how to make my own equipment, so that's what I have always done.
    Jon
    Jon, N6VC/5

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    Interesting thread.

    My interest in beekeeping was sparked by a boss I had in the 70's who kept bees and was an enthusiastic storyteller. I lived in Chicago suburbs but what with kids and other interests I never got the time to actually get into beekeeping. Later I lived in a high rise in downtown Chicago where it was impossible.

    When I started making retirement plans, beekeeping was on the list along with gardening and getting back into ham radio. I did a lot of reading during the last 18 months or so -- helped keep me sane while waiting for the magic date to arrive. We found a nice place in southern Minnesota with five acres and close to my wife's family. (Believe it or not, this is a blessing, not a curse.)

    This year I put bees on my property and at my in-law's farm about 15 miles away. This has been a nice illustration of the "all beekeeping is local" adage as the conditions between the two locations are different. They say you can't learn about beekeeping from reading books, and while there is truth to that, I am glad that I did all the reading and research as it has helped me understand what I'm seeing. Or at least I hope it has helped!

    Another help was attending the short course that the U of M offers each spring, which I did in 2004 before I had even retired. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter from the U of M staff teach the course and are regular attendees at the beekeeping association meetings. For new beekeepers, such a course is great, along with a good local association and mentors.

    I love my new life as a retiree and the bees are certainly a part of that. And yes, the garden is coming along nicely and I was able to get back into ham radio.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    I am 40 also and I had sea monkyes too. I remember the adds with thier human looking faces.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

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