Courtney and I began our Tulsa beekeeping journey in January of 2013 by me first taking a class at the local beekeeping club, NEOBA. Courtney bought me the class for Christmas, and would later say "I thought James would take the class, and decide beekeeping was not for him". The first class I ordered two sets of bees and 2 hives on the advice of the instructors, Greg & Shelly Hannaford. I worked on building the hives for the next several months until the bees finally arrived in May. We didn't have a truck at the time and I can remember driving the approxamately 20,000 bees home in the back of my wife's Subaru. I could hear their loud angry buzzing the whole time I drove from Greg's Jenks apiary to my home on Shadow Mountain in Tulsa, it was quite nerve racking. Over the remainder of the year I tended the bees and gained experience. I harvested no honey as is typical in the first year of a hive. In December of 2013 one of my two hives froze to death leaving me with a lone hive. I was sure 2014 was going to be another year without honey.
I began communicating with and learning from another beekeeper, Ken Davis, and something he showed me intrigued me. Bee swarm removal and bee swarm traps! Why pay for commercial bees when you can get rescue displaced wild bees for free. I also put my name on the local clubs "Swarm Catcher" list. In March, a fellow beekeeper got a lead on a log with bees in it, and I headed out to get my first wild bees. I was hooked! A few weeks later I got my first swarm call for bees in the Brookside area, and several more calls followed from over the coming weeks from Tulsa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso and Glenpool. Swarm catching became a favorite pasttime. By then I had a truck, and it was always loaded with the equipment to catch bees. By summer of 2014 I was up to 15 hives and ultimately harvested 606lbs of honey. So many people had begun following my journey, that the honey flew out the door as fast as I could bottle it. Winter of 2014/2015 was brutal on my bees and I came out of it with 6 hives. Fast forward to winter 2017/2018 and I currently have 90 hives. Swarm season is fast approaching, and I am ready to rescue more bees. It is truly a passion of mine!
Thank you to all my followers and supporters who have helped me along this journey. I love being a beekeeper in Tulsa, and love that so many people enjoy learning about my bees.
Tulsa Beekeeper, Bee Swarm Catcher, and Local Honey Producer
If you see a bee swarm in Tulsa, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Owasso, or Glenpool call me immedately! Honey is usually available starting in mid-late June and sells out quickly. Additional dark fall honey may be produced in mid to late fall. Call for availability.
For swarm rescue call the Tulsa Swarm Hotline at 918-981-BEES (2337)