The Honey Couple: Robert & Carleigh's story
We're often asked "So what got you into beekeeping?" the short answer is the bees found us!
Around 2015 Robert's parents had a bee hive start in the roof of their home. They called a local beekeeper who came and collected the hive and removed them. After some research his parents decided to try keeping bees and started their first 2 hives.
When Robert and I would visit his parents we would watch through the back window while his dad inspected his hives thinking how cool it was to see the inside of a beehive. Then we tasted the honey they extracted from their first harvest and we finally understood that honey has a completely unique flavor depending on what nectar the bees find. Slowly we began learning and researching how involved it is to keep bees. All the while we kept thinking this is really cool, wonder if we could do this too?
Our first hives
In May 2017 we started our first two hives and of course we named the queens! Meet Alice and Beeatrice(above photo).
We did so much learning and growing our first year beekeeping in Jacksonville. From the picture above you can see how Robert really took to going into the hives and checking them out. Me on the other hand.. I was a little more hesitant, we only had 1 suit so I would have to go into them by myself and I was terrified I was going to mess something up. (I took the above picture from the safety of the screened lanai!)
In 2018 we moved to the Tampa area for work and to be closer to our families. And that is when our passion for beekeeping really took off.
Beekeeping In Tampa
We moved our 2 hives to Tampa with us and extracted our first honey harvest almost immediately after moving. It was VERY exciting to see the golden sticky sweet honey dripping out of the frames and into our extractor for the first time. It was also time to do our first split so we increased to 3 hives. With our move we also contacted the local bee inspector Becky to come out and check our hives with us. She gave us so much information that really helped us in the beginning.
After a few months we decided we wanted more bees and purchased nucs (5 frames of bees with a queen, basically a starter hive) from a local bee keeper. This brought us up to 10 hives and I now have my own suit and am just as involved as Robert with inspecting the hives and keeping up with hive beetles and mite treatments and even splitting the hives.
At this point we're really starting to get a feel for beekeeping and thinking this could be a great business for us. We get to work together and be outside in nature. Which we love even when it feels like its a million degrees out and so humid you're swimming through the air.
In 2019 we bought our first home and moved all of our bees to our own yard.
This is when we really started to grow our bee hives, we finally had a home to call our own and 3 whole acres to spread out on. We started with just splitting the hives we had but soon found ourselves purchasing more nucs. Before we knew it we had over 30 hives!
Our knowledge was increasing all the time with reading books, researching online and also speaking with our bee inspector. Any questions we had or if something didn't look right we would ask and search until we found an answer. This search for more knowledge also lead Robert to want to work for a commercial beekeeper part time to see what he could learn from them that may be different to what we know or how we were working our bees.
This lead to our first time traveling with our bees to move them to the nectar source. Through the commercial beekeeper Robert had been working with we were able to move some of our hives to an orange grove and have our first orange blossom honey harvest. Which created a desire for us to keep moving our bees to where they would have the best chance to produce honey. After orange blossom we contacted a cattle rancher in Starke, Fl and moved all of our hives to his pasture for the gallberry honey flow.
We are now up to over 100 hives and have them spread between our house in New Port Richey, Fl, Kiddy Up Ranch and Dundee Farms both in Hudson, Fl.
Currently we are focused on growing our bees and selling our honey, selling bees(nucs) and helping backyard beekeepers with their hives.
Thank you so much for stopping by our site!