We're COVERED IN BEES...and we get paid for it! We're commercial beekeepers, ask us anything!
Hey Reddit! In light of a few requests and CCD/neonics back in the news, a couple of us commercial beekeepers thought it would be a good time to do an IAmA! You can find both of us posting regularly in /r/beekeeping.
/u/beckeeper I'm Rebecca Wilson, current president of the Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida, UF Master Beekeeper and commercial beekeeper! A few years ago, my husband and I bought a house and there were bees in an exterior wall, and that's when I decided to try my hand at beekeeping. It started out as wanting honey, and ended up being a love of bees. I'm a student with UF's Master Beekeeper program, including 2012 Apprentice MBP of the Year, I started out as a hobbyist but I've managed to weasel my way into the commercial end of things. Thanks to an internship I had to do for UF credit, I ended up employed with a large commercial pollinator for a while. I loved my job, but was forced to resign earlier this year thanks to severe carpal tunnel syndrome, which required surgery (one hand down, one to go...). My old mentor and very good friend asked me to team up with him, to go commercial on a smaller scale (and work within my current physical limitations), so that's what I've been up to lately.
Here's a pic I had my partner take for the AMA: http://imgur.com/pqcih84 My Instagram feed: http://instagram.com/beckeeper/ Florida State Beekeepers Association, Local Associations List (detailing officers of BASF): http://floridabeekeepers.org/localassociations.htm#d5
/u/Ciene Hey Reddit, my name is Donald Mendrala and I am a professional beekeeper! And by professional I mean I get paid to mess around with honey bees. A short introduction to help you see how I got started: I started in high school, it was the tail end of my junior year and we had to come up with a senior project, basically you need to learn a skill that can show that you are capable of learning a profession. I hated looking at all the cookie cutter cabinets or quilts or cookbooks so I wanted to do something new and interesting. In my English class we were reading a book called The Secret Life of Bees, so I said to myself, why not do beekeeping?
So I looked around and found a beekeeper that would mentor me. And BTW beekeeping is a great community in general, people are always willing to mentor or help others. In total I logged more than one hundred and sixty volunteer hours. That means I could not be paid for any of those hours what so ever, did I mention that the senior project only requires you only put in fifteen hours? So after the project was over I was offered a job and here I am!
We've done just about everything you can do to earn a paycheck working with bees, AMA!
TL;DR: We get paid to play with bees all day. Yes, we get stung!
Edit: wow, everyone, thanks for all the great questions and interest! We've been at it almost seven hours now and I (Bec) have to try to get a swarm out of a tree that's like 30+ feet up, so we're gonna call it a day! We will go through and answer anything previously asked, so if we didn't get to you, don't give up. Plus I owe a couple stories!
We will do another one soon, since this one got such a great reception!