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Hi All, Relatively new to beekeeping. Almost 4 years ago on Memorial day I was thinking about my dad and his service during WW2 in the pacific theater as an army medic. Dad later became an entomologist specializing in certain types of flies. During the war he was assigned to work on the malaria problem. So on Memorial day, I was thinking about how he had kept bees from 8 years old until he went off to war. Dad used his "honey money" and the G.I. bill to get his phd. I looked out the window and saw a cloud of bugs flying around the yard and commented about them to my son who was helping me remodel our kitchen. So Dan poked his head out the door and says, "those are honeybees". Coincidence? I don't know but, I went off to the farm store and bought a deep and some frames, made a quick bottom board and lid, and went out to the tree and cut the branch and shook the bees into the box.

I had called some friends of mine, a religeous order of nun's, and asked if they wanted them. The told me they already had 2 hives but would welcome getting another hive. I kept them for a year and a half to study them.

Year 2, I brought them to the sisters and built a long hive as well as a conventional hive. "My" bees were the only ones to survive the winter.

In the third year we built the one plus 2 other donated hives into 7. All were lost the following winter due to varroa mites.

So, this Spring the sisters have declared me their official beekeeper and want me to start the apiary over at my house and figure out how to manage them successfully so I can teach them. In my work I own a business that serves Michigan State University. I have talked to their entomologist beekeepers and another local phd bee specialist who owns 3 apiaries.

Working on a plan to build an apiary or 3+ and am thinking on keeping at it when I re-retire. The really weird thing is that I haven't been stung by any of the bees. I don't wear much protection, sometimes just a veil. I have been stung plenty of times in the past, as my dad had us exterminating wasp nests with soap water when they were bothersome to people.

I guess it's just luck that the bees have been very gentle.

Re-started the apiary with 2 packages of Italians Friday will be second inspection.

Plan on building them up and hopefully doing some splits. Looking at Saskatraz and or Carniolan queens.
 

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Trin:

Welcome to Beesource- I enjoyed reading your introduction- is your dad still alive?

Michigan State certainly has an excellent reputation in the realm of honeybee research, and I expect your practical experience in being a field entomologist of sorts gives you some good insight into colony dynamics.

Best of success to you in your beekeeping efforts- I'm looking forward to reading about how it progresses for you.

Russ
 

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Thanks, Dad passed away in 2002. Miss him a lot and wish I could pick his brain regarding bees. He never had honeybees after the war. I do hear stories from my aunt on them catching swarms.

I really don't know much about bees yet. I do benefit though from being taught observation and problem solving. That is somewhat of my shtick. I attribute this to growing up without TV and reading lots of books and spending time doing a wide variety of things with my hands. For several years our family spent 6 weeks on the road with dad who did field research. Imagine 7 kids camping and after proper instruction hunting for scorpions, tarantulas, and anything else somewhat dangerous. This is what boys do.

Dad was hired by the government to develop an artificial diet for bats because of their issue of being a carrier for rabies. This was so scientists could keep them alive to study the rabies issue. So we had lots of bats in cages in the house with the top end being 72 specimens. Bats purr like cats when content. They can be trained to come by snapping ones fingers. Dad had one old bat he called "grandmother" who liked to take naps nestled under his collar.
The really cool thing about this is that dad had a letter from the head of the department of the interior giving him unrestricted access to any and all caves in the USA. So we got to go into caves all over the place, some of which had been closed for their protection. I remember one had a room with the walls and ceiling lined with quartz crystals, sort of like a giant geode.

Dad died in the midst of writing a book on logic and thinking. In his later years he stated that the more he learns, the more he realizes that he knows nothing, just more questions. He had a profound faith in God and felt anything good he had accomplished was because there was divine intervention. He did have a deep love for science and I could write a book on all of the things he did and made. We rarely got toys for presents, rather it was a chemistry set, or glass blowing equipment, and of course insect nets and old cigar boxes with a killing tube and insect pins. .....

Back to beekeeping; I am more and more aware that I have a lot to learn. The more I study it is plain that one needs to establish a plan and record keeping in order to keep things sorted out. Because I am a visual or spatial learner, I appreciate pictorial demonstrations of how to do beekeeping tasks. I have some esteem for Michael Palmer but wish Mike would provide the latter as I think this would greatly help beekeepers. When I myself get to the place of teaching others I will incorporate pictorial drawings to clearly demonstrate hive manipulation. MSU does this with their lectures and I find this very helpful. I greatly appreciate this forum with the access to lots of opinions and insights. Perhaps someday I might stumble upon something of a worthy contribution.
 

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I am more and more aware that I have a lot to learn. The more I study it is plain that one needs to establish a plan and record keeping in order to keep things sorted out.
Trin:

Thank you for the reply. I am sorry to hear that your father has passed away. It sounds like he enjoyed a rich and full life.

While it is a truism, It seems the more one learns about bees and beekeeping, the more one realizes just how little they really know. This is one of the things that fascinates me personally about bees- there is always more to learn... and be surprised by.

Good luck with your beekeeping efforts- I imagine your dad would be proud.

Russ
 
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