Frequently Asked Questions
Have you heard that the bees are dying??
Of course, that’s the first thing anyone says when they hear that I beekeep. All my hives are fine and nothing has happened to them so far. I believe that it is a variety of diseases that are spread to bees causing this colony collapse disorder.
One of the reasons for that is the movement of so many hives across the US. I’ve talked to beekeepers that ship their bees (500 hives or more) from Illinois to California to pollinate almonds and then winter them in Florida. Many thousands of colonies are being shipped all over the place and then come in contact with other peoples colonies. This is a perfect way to spread many kinds of diseases. My hives stay on the farm. I’m not all about production, I do it more for enjoyment and tasty honey.
In addition to mixing many bees that have been many places together. The diet of many commercial bees is based off of a mono-culture of crops. Many of these bees only have blueberry or almond or apple for weeks at a time. I believe this also to stress a bees system. As you can see from my pictures, the fields for my bees are full of a variety of wonderful wild flowers.
Am I concerned that the loss of the honey bee will be detrimental to the flowering plants?
If losses get really high maybe. The honey bee isn’t native to the Americas, so hopefully we haven’t killed off all the other insect polonators that were supposed to be here in the first place. That would be a more appropriate concern (honey bees are native to Southeast Asia and were called the white man’s fly by the Native Americans).
Where should I go to learn about bees?
What did you look for when you placed your hives out on the farm?
I looked for a spot that would be near a water source and shaded during the noon hour. My main inspiration was to put the hives in places that I like to visit on the farm. Since I was a kid I always used to wander and have adventures on the farm. There are several places out there that are special to me and those are where my hives sit. You might catch me out there sometime, just hanging out and enjoying that particular place.
Have you ever been stung?
Yep. Most of the time the bees I have are really calm, but if you break one of their rules then they get angry. Quick movements, animals eating bees at night (skunks), banging or dropping hives, bad weather, dressing like a bear, and banana smell all make them rather angry. So don’t dress like a bear, cover yourself with rotten banana and skunk scent, then proceed to tip over the hive at night before a storm and dance around very fast.
Where’s the worst place you’ve been stung?
Once a bee made it all the way up my pant leg before stinging my private parts. Since that fate filled day I like to think of myself as a brother to spiderman. Only the special powers that the bee gave me that day are for a very specific kind of emergency….. of love!
What is your favorite thing about keeping bees?
The feeling of connection I get with my land whenever I touch or eat my honey. To make one of my 16 ounce jars, my bees have to pollinate 2 million flowers. When you consider that, I must be in contact with an entire field when I touch just one drop of that stuff. That feels really good to me. I hope you feel good about that too when you are looking at the farm pictures on the lables and on this site.
Where did you get all these pictures?
For the generations picture I found it in an old family album. I believe that it was aunt Rosemary that took that one. The other pics I just hop out of the truck and wait for a bee to land on a flower then snap!