Jeff Craddock has been interested in beekeeping from childhood. In the fall of 2016 a shooting house at the hunting club where Jeff and wife Lisa are members had a swarm of bees in the subfloor and his interest was reignited.

A local beekeeper came to assess the bees and offered to extract the bees in the spring. It was during this conversation when he asked the Craddocks if they would like to get into beekeeping, and offered his help to get them started. Lisa researched and found local beekeeping classes starting in January of 2017, so they signed up. They attended the Bee Expo in Clanton and purchased two packages of bees along with hive boxes, frames, tools and suits!

20170817_194838Meanwhile, another local beekeeper offered another set of bees so they started with three hives. Hence the name “Calera Tri-Hive” for their honey labels.

The first year was very exciting, with 150 lbs. of honey collected. In the late summer they removed bees from another shooting house, but lost them due to yellow jackets. One of our three hives swarmed, but they were captured them in a neighbor’s yard and set them up a new hive for a total of four.

They attended all of the monthly beekeepers meetings to gather as much information as possible, but got busy with family and vacation and missed some classes.

In hindsight, they realized they should have reduced the hives down sooner because they lost the remaining hives. The Craddocks have three bee packages on order to begin again this spring! Lisa is currently serving as SCBA Secretary and Jeff is serving on the board. In their new roles, they are attending the Beginning Beekeepers classes with the new students and learning things that we may have missed the first time around. During their first year, they entered the Shelby County Beekeepers Association annual honey contest and won over all best taste and received highest marks on quality of jar based on a modified Welsh honey judging categories of color, taste, clarity, jar quality and aroma.