I went to a presentation at our local farm store in 2014. I have never owned bees. I have never even really been around honey bees. And, while I somewhat have a ridiculous reaction to yellow jacket beestings, I really wanted honey!! I went to a presentation for the Langstroth type of hive. I was also interested because Oregon had been having troubles with declining bee populations and my own small garden plot seemed to suffer. After the presentation, I started reading up on bees and I had also been browsing on websites and joined Oregon Beekeepers Facebook page. I think that is where I saw this beautiful mini hive box advertised.
In March, I called Al and ordered my beautiful mini 4 box hive and bees. I anxiously waited. I worried if they were ever going to come! I read and explored. I joined EcoBeeBox Facebook page.
Between March and July 3, when I received my bees, I had ordered my bee jacket. I prepared a toolbox with rubber-bands, baby powder, nitrile gloves, screwdriver, hive tool and brush (both of which I won at the bee presentation) all at the ready! I purchased a smoker and had a spray bottle to fill with sugar water. I had also ordered a Boardman feeder. And, of course my Complete! I was ready for my babies! I had also ordered a boxholder that we bolted into a short steel post and mounted in a cement block. I got most of my stuff ready by following the hints given on the EcoBeeBox Facebook page! This page has been quite helpful to me!
July 3rd I received my girls. It was interesting bringing them home. While they were closed up and buzzing in the box, my husband was about to crawl out of his skin as we drove the 5 miles back to our home to put them in a dark cool place until I could set them in their new home.
I started with 3 frames. And, as predicted I had my queen in approximately 21 days. She was rather elusive, but I knew she was there because I saw eggs and larvae! I have only seen her a couple of times…And, my bees were multiplying like crazy!
As far as support from other beekeepers, I haven’t found anyone who would share their information, it’s like a private club or something. If anything, I have shared MY own experience with people who ask. And, I have shared the mini experience. I think this is the perfect way to get started and to succeed! It is a manageable size. When I started, a few people told me that I would fail, as I did not start with a queen. One person, in particular, who has kept bees for 20 years, said raising your own queen was the most ridiculous thing ever and said that I bought into a stupid scheme. Well, I feel pretty excited about my bee-growth and I have been sharing my pictures. She hasn’t said a word!
I have been somewhat nervous the whole time, mainly the fear of failing. I was afraid the barn swallows captured my queen on her mating journey, but I had eggs and larvae and brood. Then, there was the fear the yellow jackets would overtake them, which actually prevented me from opening my hive, I have not been opening it very much for fear of robbing! Now I am nervous for the winter. I am trying to give my bees a good start, they are currently on 2:1 sugar to water. They drink about a quart every other day now. They are closing up spaces with propolis. I have harvested only a small amount of honey, and I was excited for what I had, but I think I will be able to say I was successful when they are alive in the spring! I am excited for the next season and am contemplating the addition of another set of boxes!
– Debby Yarber Anderson, Forest Grove, Oregon
Al, I love Your Bee carving
– Dave Hortin
The craftsmanship is outstanding, very functional.
– Laura Bird, Princeton, Illinois
Everything you create seems very functional as well as beautiful! I appreciate the information that you share.
– Kathy Goodin, Rising Sun, Indiana
Years ago my daughter mentioned that beekeeping would be a fun hobby, but we didn’t know how to get started or where to keep a hive. By chance, one Sunday I drove by Eco Bee Box and noticed the sign. They were closed so I came back the next day. I didn’t expect what I found. To my pleasure I found a beehive that could easily be kept at home. Small but with room to grow. The training Eco Bee Box provides is priceless for a new hobbyist like I was. The experience of watching a colony grow is very satisfying and will be a great hobby for years to come. While Albert was in Boise at a conference, he “hid-a-hive” with clues online for someone to put their sleuth hat on and find it. I packed my family in the car late that night and went with flashlights to find this treasure at 10:30 pm. It was put in my 9-year-old Addi’s apiary. We recorded it and were the first to find his hidden mini hive and extra stuff.
– Chris Verkerk, Wenatchee, Washington
Your boxes are gorgeous!
– Melody Tripp
I want to let you know how much I've enjoyed my mini hives.
– Christopher McGinty
I am a 2nd year newbie--hoping my bees overwinter again. I am interested to learn how to raise queens so I am really interested in learning more about your gorgeous hives. Thanks for all your generosity with your talent, knowledge and time!
– DaNae Burke Smith, Idaho Falls, Boise, Idaho
These are the most beautiful hives Albert.
– Raine Lee Ritalto
Your Eco bee hives are some of the most interesting and beautiful hives I have seen.
– Janie Ramming
I have always been interested in beekeeping, so about 5 years ago I decided to finally become a beekeeper. I put an order in at a big chain store for a package, a hive, a suit, and some books. A month before the bees would arrive I came across a little shop with small beehives outside. I went inside this place called Eco Bee Box and found Albert Chubak working hard in the back of his shop. I knew right away this was how I would learn to keep bees. Albert was so willing to teach me how to be a sustainable beekeeper. I learned right away how to rear a queen. The mini hives he teaches people to use make it so simple to learn how to be sustainable in keeping bees. Albert is very passionate about teaching beekeeping in a very different way. The first year I reared many queens, started multiple colonies, removed bees from a garage wall and placed the brood frames in the small frames with elastic bands, and introduced others in my area to do the same as I was doing. So fun.
– Knut Carter