I've meet hobby beekeepers and master beekeepers but no one yet like (Don) Fat Bee Man in Lula,Georgia.
My buddy Little John purchased some Nucs from Don (Fat Bee Man) and I got the pleasure of tagging along to pick them up. We arrived and met Don and started checking Nucs he had set aside for Little John, the weather was cloudy cool and off and on drizzling rain, I thought sure this would be a bad day to be fooling with bees.
Amazingly the bees were gentle even with the poor weather (more gentle than any I've ever seen) So gentle in fact that none of us ever put on a Bee hat or gloves. This wasn't a quick peak into a hive .......Don pulled frames moved bees with his fingers found the queens and even shook frames of bees into Little John's Nucs without any of the normal beekeeper's protective gear, no stinging bees no screaming and running for the truck, nothing but a smoker that he didn't use much.
I was totally amazed and thinking that I had seen it all now by the time we finished placing the frames into Little Johns Nucs. I asked Don for 4 queens and he agreed to let me have them, we walked over to a small Nuc and Don found the queen in the bottom of the box after pulling all the frames. The queen was under a pile of worker bees when he reached in and dug her out bare handed and placed her into a queen cage without getting stung!
A few seconds later he caught attendant bees by hand and placed them one at a time into the cage with the queen. I was in shock by them and trying to catch bees myself ...... lol
Don repeated hand catching queens 3 more times and added attendants each time bare handed without getting stung.
Up until yesterday you couldn't have given me a hive of Russian bees, all the stories I've heard didn't add up to what I saw at Don's. I see the wisdom in his genetic lines and the visit was proof enough for me to come home with 4 queens that speak Russian fluently
Both Don and his apiary are a pleasure to visit.