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I remember as a young kid, about 5 years old, visiting my Aunt Annette and Uncle Walt in the little town of Flicksville, Pennsylvania. Northampton County was the heart of an area nicknamed the "Slate Belt". To this day, mountains of broken slate still line the roads and the abandoned quarries now filled with water are the only reminders of an enterprise that dominated the area. Every chalkboard in every classroom east of the Mississippi River came from this area. Uncle Walt always had honey bees to help pollinate his large garden. I wish that I had an interest in beekeeping at that time, but unfortunately I didn't. Uncle Walt passed away and took all of his knowledge with him.

About 10 years or so ago, when I found myself traveling heavily with the U.S. military, there were times where I would have extensive down time. I started to toy with the idea of beekeeping. I'm not sure why that subject popped into my head. Possibly a subliminal message tucked away in my brain from my childhood days. I read every book, visited every website and watched every YouTube video that I could that was related to the subject. When I returned home in June 2011, I shared my idea with my father and said that we should try this starting in the Spring of 2012. We scouted out an area at my parents farm and found what we thought would be a perfect spot to place honey bee hives.

This "hobby" was meant to be therapy to relieve stress after returning home from several deployments to Iraq and the surrounding areas in the Middle East. But, as most do, I got addicted. Before beekeeping, I never paid attention to what plants and trees were in bloom. I never heard of plants like Japanese Knotweed or how many different varieties of clover there are. Who knew what a "dearth" was? Now, whenever I drive down a road, I say to myself "that would be a perfect spot for some hives". Every beekeeper eventually comes up with a name for their hives. I chose 1847 Stonehaus Hives after the resident German stone house at my parents farm. The house is the center of the farm and within it's shadow, the fields were bountiful and flourished with their crops long before the American Civil War.

I was fascinated with everything that was going on inside these hives when I would check on them. I'm still learning new things to this day. I wanted to share my experiences inside the hives with everyone so I started a Facebook page dedicated to the promotion of honey bee awareness. I do not try to sell my products there, but I do post pictures, videos, hive reports, newspaper articles, etc and anything else that I find interesting and appropriate for the page.

Our 4 hives grew to 11 hives by the next year and grew yet again to 19 hives in 2014. I just got a call back from the owner of a local winery. I'll be adding hives within his vineyard next Spring and that should take me to 25 hives. That's where I will draw the line. 25 hives is a lot of work for one person who works a full-time job.

How did you get into beekeeping?
 

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I blame and/or credit (depending on my mood and the bees') my then 11 year old daughter. We were at a flower and patio show in Indy and the state beekeepers were there. My daughter, a budding naturalist, fell in love with the idea. It took a couple years to get it done but we started with one hive last year and now have 4 on our 1/3 acre in the burbs. Bees fit beautifully into my goal of raising, hunting, fishing, or gathering as many of my own calories as possible. We harvested 175# of honey this year and sold enough of it to almost totally recoup the initial costs. I have plenty left for my needs and eat some everyday. We are branded as "Hill Valley Honey" since that is the subdivision we live in.
 

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"I was fascinated with everything that was going on inside these hives when I would check on them. I'm still learning new things to this day."

I'm a first-year beekeeper, so this is certainly the case. But then you look at people like Michael Bush, who I think learned the art from Langstroth and says he's still learning. I'm counting on that ... THIS is a big part of the fascination for me, continued learning. I'm a science geek, plus bees are outstanding photographic subjects.

I've thought we had the perfect place for bees for a long time, and that they would be better for the garden and less bother to raise than cows or chickens. I've always found honeybees fascinating. But what turned the trick was that my wife became a Master Gardener, developed an appreciation for bees, and thought we should do it. She still thinks it was HER idea.
 

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Three years ago my wife and I started feeding some feral bees that visited our acreage in the spring. Then the following year we put out 5 swarm traps and caught 2 swarms. From that point on we were hooked, last winter we ordered 2 packages of New Zealand bees that we installed in April because our 2 small swarms didn't make the winter. We did a cut out in June that I just combined with a swarm we caught last month. The 3 hives are booming and we've got 20 frames of honey waiting for extraction as soon as our new extractor arrives today. We expect at least 20 more if the flow continues for another month. My wife and I have always wanted bees because we thought it would compliment our mainly self sufficient lifestyle. We raise our own pork, the majority of our vegetables and try to do everything we possibly can for ourselves, so bees lend themselves well into our life.
 

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Last year my wife and her 2 sisters decided there father needed something else to do so they got him a hive for his birthday. I helped assemble hives and handle the bees when the nuc arrived. My brother in law also got one for his dad. Well long story short neither one of them took to bee keeping, so I look after there hives. I didnt give my father in laws hive room early this spring but was able to split before they swarmed. I took the split so that became my 1st hive. I bought 2 used hives from a man who thought he lost them after that brutal winter. Turned out the queen and a few hundred survived. On my birthday I captured my 1st swarm so I combined them with the weak hive(hive#2) I split hive 2 to make hive #3 they are curently in a 10 frame deep and doing well(they are my smalest hive) Hive #4 is a trap out its been a battle but they are booming now. I've done a lot of reading on this web site and on Bush Farms web site, a lot of you tube videos. Been a little over a year and I'm hooked. I think my wife hates that it was her idea to get her dad some bees but it worked out great for me:) She did decide since she cant beat me to join me.
 

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I was doing an addition onto a beekeeper's home when his 6 year old grandson came around the corner with a bee on his finger. I was concerned he would get stung because he kept grabbing the bee. He explained it was a boy "drone" bee and didn't have stingers. Later that day they had a swarm and as I watched it being hived the beekeeper explained the swarming process and talked for an hour or more about bees, that got my interest. I went home and as I was walking around the edge of the farm I lived on, I found bees coming and going from an old water heater tank. My cousin had tried bees but failed and had an old half decent hive with moth eaten frames, a smoker, an old alexander style veil, and Walter Kelley's book, "How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey", which he gave me. I took my grinder and did my first cut out from that tank. I had no idea what I was doing so I laid comb every which way in the frames. I also came up with a crude bee vac using a bucket and killed probably half of the bees with it. Luckily, I must have gotten the queen on a transferred comb and these were tough bees. Somehow they managed to make it through the winter and I did some reading through the winter. The next spring I bought ten packages and hives, been keeping bees ever since. Doing that first cutout with nothing but a veil was a definite learning experience, I got everybody including the dog stung that day, now I run a bee and wildlife removal company that came about from my interest in bees. Nowadays I lose very few if any bees in a bee vac, I can take out a hive and almost never get stung, and the comb from my cutouts looks as good in the frame as if I had gone from foundation. I take great pleasure in working with bees, and enjoy the learning experience associated with keeping them. It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn even after keeping bees for the past 8 years.
 

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Cut down a tree for firewood in college and there was a colony up about 30 feet so we didn't see it.
It was later January so my efforts to save the bees didn't work but that spring I got two hives and that started a life time effort in beekeeping.
 

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Two of my daughters thought I needed something to do in my retirement years. The girls were joined by two of my sons and bought two nucs last spring and I bought a single deep working hive for a total of three colonies. I've since split one colony and started a nuc in late July. It seems to be doing fine so far.

One of the original nucs did outstanding this summer and we've so far pulled about three gallons of honey from them. The other two hives re-queened themselves this summer and are progressing at a slower speed.

Rambling here, huh? Anyway, I really enjoy my bees and it gives me quality time with my daughters when they help me tend the hives.
 

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Our daughter came home from a semester in the Czech Republic where she did some volunteer work with a community center that kept bees. She also saw "The Silence of the Bees" and that was it! She did all the research and we got a package this spring. We really should have started 2 hives, but I'm not sure I would have agreed to 2 at that time! Just as with any pet that the kids have asked for, I've become the main caretaker (daughter is back at school in Maine). I'm hoping to install a nuc this spring!
 

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My father in law always talked about how he kept bees in rural Italy in WW2 and way back when I earned the beekeeping merit badge while in the scouts...... My kids saw an ad for our local beekeeping club beginner class and thought it would be cool if we went as a family....;- )
 

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Swarms kept landing at the big airport where I work here in Houston. A local beekeeper/mechanic kept capturing those swarms and adding to his apiary. He's now retired but still keeps bees for pollination services and sells the honey to the mechanics here at IAH. I watched numerous times as he caught a swarm in a box from a belt loader , jetway , cargo loader , etc. That got me thinking, which lead to reading, which lead to watching youtube videos, which lead me to starting my first hive May of 2013. My second hive was started from a swarm caught off of a beltloader April 8th this year. And so it goes!
2 Warre hives at the end of this season. I suspect I will be adding more next year!
 

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I've been helping my buddy with his blue orchard bee business for several years. It's a lot of hard work, but I've learned a lot about those BOB critters and made a little money. But I've always lamented that 'there's no honey from the buggers". This spring, he got a wild hair and decided to start keeping honey bees and got 25 packages and hive lumber. I helped him build boxes and frames and to install the packages. Well, beginners make mistakes, and we ended up losing some of them. We learned some things the hard way, but we learn.
In the mean time, I lost (most of) my fear of bees and developed a fascination for them. A few weeks later, near Memorial Day, I was buying my own nuc, a complete 10 frame medium which included 5 frames of bees, brood, stores, and a real sweet queen. They are up to 3, 10fr mediums and ready for a super now.
 

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Not even sure what drew my attention. Woke up last year and decided I wanted to try BeeKeeping. I'm not a dog/cat/pet person and this sounded just up my alley. My kind of critter that I didnt have to feed everyday but look into every couple weeks. yeap, dont want something I have to be home every night to feed and clean up after.. Now they do keep me busy tho. chg'g oil pans, making boxes, painting, frames, new equipment. The act of learning is what entices me into new hobbies. I've met new people thru the local bee club and so far I'm really enjoying it and hope to continue.
 

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A few years ago, I had a neighbor who kept bees. I got to talking to him, and was fascinated hearing him talk about beekeeping. The next time he saw me, he brought me a baby jar of honey to taste, which he told me was "raw and unpasteurized". I didn't even know what that meant, but wow! it was the most delicious honey I ever tasted! He soon moved away and I forgot all about it. I think, though, that little experience kindled something inside me. Maybe a year or two later, right before I got married, I was talking to my fiancé (now husband), and just mentioned out of the blue, "I think I'd like to keep bees." He thought I was being metaphorical, as if I wanted to mentor younger people, but I said, "No, I mean honeybees!" We laugh and laugh about that now! I got 2 hives the following spring. :)
 

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I have always thought beekeeping was fascinating as my cousin has been a beekeeper for yrs. When my daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 1.5 yrs old we were devestated and my cousin had told me that he had never met a beekeeper with arthritis and told me about apitherspy. I looked it up and it sounded promising, my wife thought I was bat crap crazy but when I brought it up with my daughter's rheumatologist and she told us about some very promising studies in Europe that was all I needed to get the green light from the wife. For the most part her regular meds keeps it under control, but once in awhile she will have flareups where she requires joint injection surgery. We got the green light to go ahead and try it during flareups and so far so good she is surgery free for 6 mos where she was avgering a surgery every 2
 

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I'd always been kind of interested but didn't know much about them. Didn't matter, as we were not allowed to keep bees where we lived from 1996-2012. But after we bought our farm, the sky was the limit. I started thinking about it when we closed on the farm, but other things were necessary that first year or so.

Then, this February, our youngest son was stillborn. I had postponed bees again, thinking I'd be really busy with five kids, one being a baby. But that wasn't to be. So I started thinking about bees again, and fortunately, there were still packages available locally, so I ordered two and bought the hive equipment and went for it.

Sometimes, when I'm just having a hard day, I like going and sitting by the hives and smelling the honey and listening to the bees.
 

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I was my Grandfather's only grand child who would help him with his bees. Growing up I spent many weekends helping him and learning more than I ever realized. After life took my focus away from the bees in starting my own family I have arrived back in the bees. Now my daughters work with our bees. They had the opportunity to spend some time with my grand father before old age caught up with him and forced him to stop working in the bees. We have the joy of carrying on his love of bees and he has seen the joy it brings my kids.
 

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This "hobby" was meant to be therapy to relieve stress after returning home from several deployments to Iraq and the surrounding areas in the Middle East. But, as most do, I got addicted. Before beekeeping, I never paid attention to what plants and trees were in bloom. I never heard of plants like Japanese Knotweed or how many different varieties of clover there are. Who knew what a "dearth" was? Now, whenever I drive down a road, I say to myself "that would be a perfect spot for some hives".
My story is very similar to yours.
Iraq Combat Vet & Wounded Warrior, got into it as a type of therapy & have fallen head over heels for bees.
 

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This is a story that changes every time I tell it. Most probably the roots of my addiction to bees trace back to 1978 when I was mowing lawns as a summer job. One of my customers had several bee hives, and made their bee suit available to me when I had to mow near the hives.

I didn't do much of anything with those bees (except making sure the mower's discharge did not blow in the bottom board) but the experience primed the pump so to speak for later in life adventures.
 

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It was 1992 as i recall today. At that time my best friend conned me into taking a trip with her father to go pick up something. I had no clue what it was nor did i care, it was a road trip and i was 17. It was a smoltering summer afternoon so I had shorts, fish net shirt, and flip flops on. So needless to say, I was comfortable and was immediately laughed at when my friend got me to her dad's house. We didn't have any time to get me a change of clothes, and he was ill prepaired for the mission as well. I got briefed on the mission and we took off, nearly 200 miles away in the eastern panhandle of WV to pick up to complete production beehives. We got there at night, took a beating from the bees just getting them into the hive. Came back an hour later, put them into the truck, which had no kind of tie downs, ropes, boards, NOTTA.. We drove home that night, got about 2/3 of the way home, had to stop at a rest area, i forgot that the bees were on the back and took a curve too hard and popped the hives loose. There were bees EVERYWHERE! We both got stung so many times we looked like we had a case of the measels.. lol We took off again after getting things fixed and went on home. To this day, when i'm ask what sparked my love for bees, i have to laugh a little and tell that story. Later on down the line after speaking with my parents, I found out that i'm actually a 4th generation beekeeper. My father just had to leave it behind to find work before I was born.

When I turned 36 I had a midlife crisis and got completely burned out on the whole IT job that I had and left it. That's when I officially decided to become a beekeeper. Today I have 43 hives, and plan to have many many more in the very near future.. They combined with the efforts of my wife and I are what pays the bills and keeps our family taken care of....
 
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