I began Beekeeping in 1963 with one hive I found, an abandoned hive in the woods in Gallant Alabama while at a Boy Scout Camp out. I checked with the property owner and he said I could have the bees, he had not checked on them for several years and thought they had all died out. The hive needed to be replaced since it had not been taken care of for several years. I noticed a beekeeper catching a swarm of bees across the street where I was going to school right after I had found the bees in the woods. I went over and watched him catch the swarm and began to ask him questions about what I needed to do with the bees I had found. Ray Martin was the beekeepers name. I found out that he had about 35 hives in his back yard where he was catching the swarm of bees.. He became a great mentor in helping me start my first hives and how to manage my bees. Within a month I had 12 hives and by end of summer I had 16. I earned the Beekeeping Merit Badge that summer.
The next summer I was hired to work at Comer Boy Scout Reservation on the staff to manage the dining hall. The Councilors found out that I had bee hives and I was asked to teach the Beekeeping Merit Badge program. In 1964 -1967 I taught about 25 Boy Scouts each summer on how to keep bees and earn their Beekeeping Merit Badge.. We kept 6 hives at the camp for the next three years. I started a year round job and did not go back to the camp in 1968.
I kept bees until 1974 when I moved to Birmingham Al. My Dad kept the bees for the next 3-4 years and he sold the bees because he and I were not there to take care of them. (I miss my Dad he passed away in 1997 with cancer)
In 2002 my wife Lynne and I bought a farm on Lookout Mountain and I thought I might get a couple of hives just as a Hobby. We were at a restaurant when a swarm landed on their sign out in the parking lot. I went down to my step dads and got a complete hive from him he had about 60 hives when he met my Mom.
I caught the swarm and that was a new beginning for Lynne and I in beekeeping. Lynne and I now manage about 200 hives. I have learned a lot about bees since back in the earlier years of beekeeping, about the only thing we had to worry about then was foul brood and wax moths.
We now have our own lab to do all the test for Nosema, foul brood, and most anything that affects the honey bee. We raise and sell our own line of Queens we call Tyker Queens. This is a cross with a Russian mother and matted with survivor Drones from hives that have been on their own for four or more years. These Drones come from hives that we have removed from structures and any place the have taken up for a home.
We sell complete hives with bees, packages, Queens and all necessary equipment needed for beekeeping. We sale honey to local businesses and to the public.
This is our 7th. year to teach a Beginning Beekeepers Class, producing 25 to 30 new beekeepers each year. This year our classes will be here at Lookout Mountain Honeybees Apiary in our new store and honey processing facility. The classes will start and run from January 12 thru March for 8 Monday night from 6-8 followed up with a field day March 7, (weather permitting)
David serves on the Board of Directors for Alabama Beekeepers Association, he is the Chairman of the Alabama Master Beekeeping Program, and Past President of the Etowah County Beekeepers Association and Lynne is one of 2 Welsh Honey Judges in the State of Alabama