Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our Visit with Don the FatBeeMan

Kaitlin and I drove 10 hours to Georgia last weekend to pick up 45 packages from Don of his well-regarded and treatment-free stock.  Noteworthy is the small cell foundation the bees are raised on...4.9 mm.  While unproven, there is a belief that work brood raised on small cell is more resistant to varroa mites and hive infestation.

According to Michael Bush:

Personally, I have never been able to figure out the resistance to small cell or natural comb. While the large cell beekeepers are obsessed with Varroa, I get to just keep bees. While the large cell beekeepers are still searching for a solution to Varroa, I get to work on my queen rearing and finding easier ways to do less work. Since letting the bees build comb is easier than using foundation, and since those of us doing that are not having Varroa issues, I would think there would be a lot more interest in doing the same.

Anyway, Don gave us the VIP tour of his place, an utter showcase of beekeeping with all of his yards covered with feeders, nucs, full sized hives, and mating nucs.  There were no secrets, he just kept telling us about what he was doing, how he was making money, and some of his methods.

Made me wish I lived closer as I'd love to take his class.  If you are down in Georgia, please consider will be money well-spent.

We now have 15 nucs raising small cell bees from Don's stock.  And there was plenty of interest in his small cell bees, for those interested in trying out the technique.

And we met many other disciples of Don's, all there to pick up bees for their apiary.  One guy even recognized me from our videos.  Getting some love is always nice!

Here is a video of our trip.