Monday, August 20, 2007

How I got started in Beekeeping

Folks often ask me this question. As a graduate student in Geography at the University of Georgia, I was given a fellowship to study fishing technology in the Yucatan. Arriving there, however, revealed that little data was available. Before leaving from Athens, GA I took a beekeeping course from Dr. Alfred Dietz in the Department of Entomology and had installed my first colony and collected my first swarm.

Yucatan it turned out at the time was one of the world's largest honey exporters, principally through the efforts of honey exporter R.B. Wilson who had visited the region and saw its potential. While in Yucatan I met one of beekeeping's pioneers, J.F. Martinez Lopez and with his and others' help, so I switched topics and wrote my thesis, A Geography of Apiculture in the Yucatan Peninsula, not published. Another by Calkins was also written about the same time, but was more ethnographic than economic in focus. There was an update on the topic published in Mexico on the subject in Bee World 1997 by Carlos Echazarreta González. I returned to the region as an invited speaker in 1998.

Later, I decided to become more involved in Beekeeping and was admitted to the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia and became a technician for Dr. Dietz, administering the University Bee Program when he was on sabbatical in Germany and taking his place for the period he was absent. Next I took a job at The Ohio State University as Extension Specialist in Apiculture after meeting Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler. As part of my exploration into beekeeping, I worked for Rossman Apiaries for a short period in 1977.

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