Our Family started Beekeeping 4 generations ago and we have always had bees. Today, the elder beekeeper is Robert Hughes, he started beekeeping over 50 years ago in 1967. Robert says beekeeping supplies was a lot easier back then and today, we have a lot more challenges. Back then Robert was learning about bees from two very distinguished beekeepers. The problem was, that those two beekeepers never agreed on anything. One wore a complete bee suit. The other just wore a veil. One would split his hives with day old larva. The other bought his queens. One always kept two hive bodies on over winter. The other reduced his hive to one hive body, but fed his bees all winter. It was very hard for Robert to remember what to do when he was helping these beekeepers. He usually messed up doing something the other beekeeper told him to do and would get yelled at by the beekeeper he was with. This rule is still alive and well today. What works for one beekeeper, does not work for the other beekeeper. Which means, no two beekeepers do everything the same. This is a big part of the Art of Beekeeping and makes beekeeping fun. Beekeeping has always been a joy and passion for Robert. Beekeepers are always trying something new.
In his younger days, Robert and his brother had over 100 hives, until they left the farm for college. We always had bees on the family farm and when Robert moved to Kansas City, he found local farmers to put his hives on. Even today, after 50 years, his brother still helps him work the bees.
For the past 15 years, Robert has been teaching Beekeeping classes at the Johnson County Community College in Kansas City. He established an apiary on the college campus so the students can learn to work with bees. Currently, we have 6 different bee classes and these classes expand every year. In August 2014 National Geographic published a picture with the beekeeping class at Johnson County Community College. Today, Robert's family sells honey at the Overland Park Farmers Market and everyone still enjoys visiting and meeting new beekeepers.