Master Beekeeper since 1982 and still enjoying the buzz. Returning to Canada July 5th 2014

My background as a Beekeeper

Home
2013 Queens
Nuc's for sale 2013
Internships
Beekeeping workshop
Pollen Traps
Product list
My background as a Beekeeper
Our bees
Retail locations
Carniolan honey bee
Bumble bees
Presentations
Pollination
Ways to use honey
Hive Medicines
bee suppliers + links
Candle making
Interesting facts
Hive components
Pest & Swarm control
Diseases
Services
Bear Proofing
CO2 the canary in the coal mine
Cell phone Radiation and bee death
new news on cell phones etc
Enviornmental issues
Pollinator Conservation
Nitrogen V CO2
Supporting organic life.

This has been my hobby since the early 1980's and I’ve very recently begun to develop it into a small business. Beekeeping has been an ongoing pleasure and satisfying hobby. It seems to allow me escape the usual hustle of our modern lives that is driven by the money and ideals that are continuously imposed on us from the media and advertisements. When I am working with the bees I have to slow down take a step back to our natural way of life - especially when I'm checking through the brood chamber (where the Queen lives and lays the eggs), to avoid getting stung. The bees are very protective of their young.

I first realised beekeeping was for me when I was living in southern England, many many years ago. People would ask me to remove wasp and hornet nests from garages, garden fence lines etc, which lead me into keeping and learning about the social habits of wasps and the many varieties of hornets.

 

This hobby, which was strange to some people back then, lead me to a local beekeeper. I remember the first time the roof and cover board were lifted off of a beehive: I saw thousands of bees in one box for the first time. Wasps & bumble bees are not advanced social insects like the honey bee so this was an awesome sight to see: so many insects living in one stack of boxes! And we were wearing only our thin summer clothing! As a young man, I became fascinated with the workings of a beehive. I just looked on as the beekeeper introduced the bees to me. I guess I've been hooked on beekeeping ever since. The climate in the UK is more forgiving to insects, with a longer spring starting from very early in the month of March through to late October when we begin to hope the bees will settle down for winter months ahead. The worst  winter temperatures may drop to -2 degrees. You can guess what I was thinking when I got a taste of the Canadian winter...eck!

 

From the mid 1987 to 1997 I spent most of my days living and working in the west coast of Ireland, keeping my hobby close at hand, buying bees soon after arriving. The west coast of Ireland was a little wet compared to southern England. Ireland is truly an emerald isle, full of lush green meadows.

 

I have continued my enjoyment of bees here in Canada now since 1997 when I bought my first bees here in Canada, from a well respected beekeeper Neil Orr (R.I.P) who lived in the town of Wooler, Ontario. I kept these bees in Madoc Ontario. Neil often remarked "beware of the bears and erect an electric fence". I'd  shrug off these kind remarks and I would camp out many nights near my hives.  One day the inevitable happened - I woke up and smelt the coffee. I saw firsthand the destruction that bears can do to 12 strong hives. A bear turned my beehives into toothpicks. I managed to find a couple of small, sad clusters of bees under paving slabs I used to stand the hives on. After sometime in the following year I moved the bees closer to home in Whitby, Ontario. This was a rough start to beekeeping in Canada.

BeeKeepers

Solar electric fence from Princess Auto costs around $300

Sardine tin lids works well on the electric fence, the bear will smell the sardine lid followed with a shock.