Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Double Bee Honey Farms
-The Beginning 

I've never been much for sharing, and even less a writer. As I sit here, 24, at what hopes to be the beginning of a successful career, I can't help but wonder how I got here. Not here as in here, I was born here. How does one become a beekeeper in the first place? I have been called crazy, fearless among other things. To me this is just normal, this is life. So how did this all begin?

As I said before I am only 24, so to most beekeepers I probably don't know anything. I started at the age of 18. The summer before I trekked off to college. At the time I was working in the local grocery store, stocking shelves at minimum wage. Honey was not something that I was very fond of at the time, though I would eat it on toast from time to time, it wasn't as good as gold as I now believe it to be. Much like any story, this one begins with a girl. Not the girl as I would later find out. Just a girl. Yes just a girl, but I owe that girl my life.

Of all the lofty aspirations in life, I hardly doubt any beekeeper ever thought he would be a beekeeper. Yes perhaps those good old boys who kept bees with dad and grandpa starting in their childhood. Certainly now a teenager fresh out of high school who had certainly never opened up a beehive let alone even been stung by a bee. It is thanks to THAT girl that I was dating at the time that I am where I am today. I was sick of stocking shelves. Sick of carrying out groceries for little old ladies. So one day I up and quit out of the blue. The monotony had gotten to me. At first I felt freedom. Then slowly over the course of what was probably only a few hours, fear. What idiot quits a job with nothing to fall back on? This idiot apparently. My girlfriend at the time wasn't worried. She says, "Why don't you ask my dad for a job?" Why don't I ask him? Well we had only been dating a few months and generally in those first few months you are still scared of dear old dad. But I need a job. So I bucked up the courage to ask for a job and it just so turned out that this one man show of a beekeeper was looking for help.

My first day was rough. I had never been stung before in my life and I have to admit that I would dip, duck, dive and dodge every time I saw one coming near me. The boss turns to me and says, "Your realize you are wearing a bee suit and gloves right? The chances of you getting stung are relatively slim. Just calm down and lets get to work". 

I didn't have a clue what was involved in beekeeping at the time. I assumed you just walked up and pulled the honey out when it was time and that was it. Little did I know it was probably going to be the most complicated job I had ever held. So I learned the ins and outs of the craft and before long I felt like I knew everything. I knew all about nucing and treating. I could distinguish between the types of bees. I could find a queen easily even managed to cage her without crushing her. So I knew it all. Then came honey.

I won't be the first and I won't be the last to state that pulling honey is the hardest job possible on the face of planet earth. A little over dramatic. Yes it is difficult, but is it really that bad? First problem being the weight. Yes the supers are heavy, I don't know an exact weight, maybe 40-70lbs. Depends on the box I suppose. That may not sound that heavy even to the normal guy. Then there is the head. Often in July here in Nebraska the temperature can approach 110. Thats hot. Maybe not Arizona hot, but believe me that is hot. I can recall five summers in a row where I would exclaim by the middle of August: "I am never doing this again, I cannot wait to go back to college!" Yet every summer I would come back. It took me six summers, four years of college and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life to decide that beekeeping was my new found passion. Alas that is another story for another time.


  1. Hello Lance, just a quick hello, saw your post on BeeSource. I am also a new beekeeper and enjoy meeting new folk.

  2. Hey, thats why we go to Bee Source