Early Years of Beekeeping

Beekeeping is an unusual hobby and it fascinated me from an early age

Handling bees at school

My first memories of bees were a feral colony that lived in a cavity of a horse drawn fertilising machine on my grandfather’s farm. One summer evening in March and at the age 14, I robbed their honey. Over the winter I read books about beekeeping and in the spring I attempted to transfer them to a bee box.

Unfortunately they died but one of my school friends had a neighbour who kept bees and 3 days before my school exams in November, he gave me a swarm - much to my mother’s horror.

With permission from the High School I attended in Putaruru, I moved my hive to the back of the school property as my first recruit was the horticulture teacher. But upon his first sting, he quickly changed his mind.

At lunch time or after school I would look at my bees. My friends would watch from a safe distance, eventually 2 of them were taken by my new hobby and bought their own hives.

This is one of the earliest photos I have, age 15 taken at the rear of the school property, in uniform and examining a frame of bees.