By: Danielle Andrus
When Tavis Marr bought his land in the small community of Zionville, it seemed like the perfect property. Seventy-five acres of unspoiled farmland surrounded by wild flowers, berry bushes and acres of natural woods, it had all of the characteristics could support a successful garden and fruit tree yield. When Marr set out to begin his planting in 2010, he noticed one crucial element was missing: the pollinators.
“I noticed that there were no pollinators around so I thought about it and decided that I needed some for my gardens,” Marr said. “I ordered two nucleus colonies from the local bee store and it all started from there.”
That same year, he decided to begin his journey into beekeeping. Tavis connected with one of the more well-known commercial beekeepers in the Keswick Ridge area, Earl Gilbey. Having no previous experience working with honey bees, Earl shared the ins and outs of beekeeping and his years of knowledge with Tavis and left him with some valuable advice. “He was only ever a phone call away when I needed a helping hand,” Marr said. “The best piece of advice I received is when you think you have figured out the bees, they will always do something unexpected, so you will always ‘bee’ learning.” Soon after, Marr was connected with the Central Beekeepers Association, who provided him the information and the guidance he needed in order for his hives to survive.
“The group of beekeepers were a wealth of information and were more than happy to share their tricks of the trade with a ‘newbee’,” Marr said. “Everyone was more than willing to share and help.”