There’s a place in Grayson County in the small community of
Clarkton where beekeepers gather called “Walter T. Kelly Company”. Last Saturday, I and 100 other beekeepers
throughout the United States gathered to pick
up our queen and 3 pounds of bees.
For 5 straight Saturdays during
the spring and before the dandelions finish blooming, the Walter T. Kelly
Company distributes queens and 3 pounds of bees to each paying customer. To order your bees, call one week in advance
of the pick-up date. The cost for the
queen and 3 pounds of bees is $90 (which includes tax).
Two days before picking up my
queen and bees, I purchased their Deluxe Beginner’s Outfit with Shallow
Supers. This included the protective
equipment, hives, tools, and necessary equipment I would need to produce enough
honey to survive a hard winter, plus two extra hives called “supers” in case
the bees make enough honey for personal use.
The cost for the protective equipment, hives, tools, equipment, etc. is
Did I know anything about raising
bees? No! Did I know anyone who’s raising bees? No!
But, rest assured that when you pick up your bees, the employees of the
Walter T. Kelly Company give demonstrations on how to release the bees, making
sure you don’t watch your $400.00 investment fly off in a swarm.
Upon arriving at the “how to
release your 3 pounds of bees and their queen” demonstration, I quickly noticed
that the older experienced beekeepers were not present, because they left after
receiving their bees. But the other newbies
and I found refuge standing around with paper and pens writing down everything
the Kelly Company beekeepers said.
As the demonstration began, the
experienced Kelly Company beekeepers released the bees into a hive. Standing
only ten feet from the live demonstration, I wasn’t afraid, although most of us
backed away as we witnessed 3 pounds of swarming bees leave their temporary
cage, being forced into a new home. Watching this event was exciting, but as
fast as the bees were released, they went straight to the hive where the queen
was located. It was over as quick as it
had begun. Just by placing a queen bee
into a new hive, the giant swarm of 3 pounds of bees went directly to the hive
to be with her. Yes, there may be some
stragglers and you can still get stung, but the Kelly Company beekeepers didn’t
wear any gloves, only a mask over their heads.
We found out the real problem of
raising bees isn’t getting the bees in the hive, but maintaining their food
supply during inclement weather, mites and invading animals. By the way, the bees I got were Italian,
which are known to be gentle, but the trade-off for getting Italian bees is
that they’re susceptible to mites. There
are adventuresome beekeepers who avoid mite problem by getting Russian bees,
but Russian bees are known to be mean and vengeful and will attack anyone close
to their hive. Russian bees are also sold at Walter Kelly Company.
So with my 3 pounds of bees
in-tow, I headed home to release them into their new hive. I was really nervous, but I’d taken extensive
notes and did exactly what the beekeepers at Walter Kelly had said. Suited in my beekeeper’s outfit with all the
tools, equipment, and hives I needed, I nervously released the bees, as my wife
took pictures and worried as they swarmed around me. But just like the demonstration I witnessed
at Walter’s, they quickly went into their hive to be with their queen, and I
began my new adventure in beekeeping.
Did you know one of the best
prevention of allergies is eating bee honey grown in your area? By the end of the summer, I won’t BEE
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