WELCOME to the Warne Bee Farm & AP's Apiaries website!
Our beginnings started before the Great Depression with my grandfather, Ralph Jasper Warne. He was born in April 1909 and during his elementary school years he was assigned a project which he needed to maintain a colony of bees. Well, the 1 colony project grew to be about 2,000 by the time he reached early adulthood. He became a commercial beekeeper that migrated through Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado and South Texas every year during the 1930's until the 1970’s. During this time, beekeeping was a lifestyle for the whole family as 5 kids helped in some capacity. My uncle and father helped move bees even at a really young age as the picture shows. Also, with 3 girls running around the house, they got busy in the honey house extracting honey when it came time to extract. Unfortunately, as many beekeepers started experiencing colony loss during the 1970’s my grandfather did as well. My grandfather always had the intention of building back up where he had been in the past but with age and everything else going on in the bee industry he just couldn’t get back to that number. My grandfather passed away in January 1990 with just a hand full of colonies left.
For the next 9 years the equipment sat in my father’s barn with an occasional use tjo capture a swarm when we found one around the house. Someone would quickly prep one of the boxes and attempt to hive the swarm. We had some success but eventually the colony would die out and we wouldn’t understand why. Now, with my experience, I’m comfortable looking back and saying what I think the probable cause was and moving forward how to prevent it.
Obviously, with the new found hobby, came plenty of fresh honey. Honey like none from the grocery store and in a little larger supply than I anticipated so of course I shared it with family and friends. As a few months past, I started receiving requests for more honey and soon I realized I was working way to much and to hard for nothing. I talked with my father about it because he also was seeing this for himself and we decided to start selling our honey. It didn’t take long for others in the family to start helping out in different areas of the bee business. My brothers, sister, cousins, nephews and niece has helped in the bee yard with different little chores or in the extracting room when it was time to extract. My parents and some of my aunts will help out at different markets selling honey as well.
I appreciate all the help that I’ve received to get to this point. Weather it was through my local club meetings (CCHBA), state (TBA) or national conventions (ABF) I’ve really enjoyed getting involved and learning all about the business. I also want to thank the customers that come out to our markets. Without your support by simply purchasing our honey, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Again thank you so much for your support.
Little boy on left - Steve - working with his Dad's bees - apprx. 1947.