April 2006 -
I was on a business trip when my local contact mentioned his father-in-law was a beekeeper. We discussed the European Honeybee and the benefits of honeybees in general (pollination, honey production, wax, etc...) over lunch one afternoon. By the end of the lunch hour I had become increasingly interested in beekeeping. I spent the evening (and many more!) in my hotel room researching honeybees, beekeeping and anything related to bees. I was rapidly becoming addicted...........and I wasn't even sure if I may be allergic to a bee sting!
It was during this research that I found out The University of Georgia honey bee program offers an annual Beekeeping Institute in cooperation with Young Harris College, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. I attended the short course from May 19th - 20th, 2006. I highly recommend this course for anyone remotely interested in honeybees & beekeeping. Prior to attending the course I read "The Hive and the Honeybee", "The BeeKeeper's Handbook" and "First Lessons in Beekeeping ".
I attended the UGA short course, read several books and was knowledgeable about the honeybee...........but I had no practical experience aside from the "field" exercises I participated in at the short course. An internet search turned up a local beekeeper, Mike Sorensen so I contacted him and we met shortly thereafter. I asked quite a few dumb questions and hung around while he worked his hives until I got a better feel for what I was getting myself into. Mike recommended I order my package of bees from Rossman Apiaries. On June 1st, 2006 I drove to Moultrie, Ga. and picked up my bees and returned home. I installed them in the late afternoon in a Langstroth hive and immediately began feeding them 1:1 sugar water to help strengthen the hive.
I live downtown, in an area that is ideally suited for the honeybee. Many homeowner's have nicely landscaped yards and have ornamental & decorative plants, bushes, trees and shrubs that are beneficial to the honeybee and the production of honey. This area is also native to many feral nectar/pollen producing plants. After careful consideration, lots of research and after speaking to several "beeks" (beekeepers), I decided to located the hive in my back yard so that I can properly manage the colony and truly enjoy my new hobby.