My name is Bill Catherall. I'm located near Portland, Oregon. I've been keeping bees since 2012 and want to share my experience with those who might be interested in doing the same.
I initially had an interest in keeping bees in the spring of 2011 when I was planting our garden. I began reading books and soon discovered that I had a hidden fascination for these little creatures. I also was really turned off by many of the common beekeeping practices. Particularly chemical and medicinal treatments. So I did some more research and found that there are many beekeepers that practice "natural beekeeping" (I prefer the term "treatment-free") where they let the bees build natural comb (no foundation) and don't treat the hive with chemicals. This was exactly what I was looking for.
This information gave me a renewed confidence that this was something I could do. So in the fall of 2011 I started purchasing and building my equipment. Then in April 2012 my first package of bees arrived.
My apiaries have changed a lot over the years. I have some friends that are hosting hives for me in a variety of locations around my neighborhood. In 2012 I started things out with a purchased package from California that did not do well in my climate and didn't survive the winter. In 2013 I began using only locally sourced bees from swarms and cutouts, and plan to continue doing more of the same from now on.
I finished the Apprentic Level of the Master Beekeeping program at OSU, and am now working on the Journey Level. I have really plugged myself into the local club, the Portland Urban Beekeepers. This is a great opportunity for me to get to know and work with other beekeepers, learn more about beekeeping, and really get involved with the local community.