In 1974 Phill was employed by Donald Sinn of Tulare, California. Sinns Bee Farm was a family owned operation, started in the late 1800’s. Donald Sinns father was one of the very first and few beekeepers moving their beehives throughout the San Joaquin Valley by buckboard.
Phill learned the way of the hive by working six days a week. Building frames, supers, repairing extractors and uncapping machines plus, working on other bee related equipment off season. (He hates to admit it, but he remembers when there were no plastic frames, Amitraz or Varroa Mites.)
This full time job also included making divides, re-queening, feeding, moving bees on 2 1/2 ton trucks with electric powered loader’s (hauling 120 doubles or 240 singles per load) working bees, checking for disease, adding supers, removing the honey crop and extracting it. Both the migratory outfits he was employed by ran over 6,000 colonies.
Phill was also a seasonal apiary inspector, mentored by Senior Apiary Inspector Bernard Poduska. As a member of the Fresno County Agriculture Department, he was part of a team whose territory encompassed the most of the Central San Joaquin Valley.
The team was responsible for out of state hive inspection, evaluation and certification, certified colony strength for almond and alfalfa pollination. Verified spray kills were forwarded to the USDA for compensation.
This inspection of bee kills from pesticides in Fresno County enabled affected beekeepers to be reimbursed with payments dependent on the severity of colony damage. There was also inspection for disease and follow up with owners to insure any hives ‘red tagged’ for American Foulbrood were properly handled. 'Red-tagged' hives were usually destroyed in those days.
At one time Phill personally owned 1,000 colonies, working them from his home in the tiny town of Friant: his migratory business being based on service for local growers requiring pollination of almonds, alfalfa seed, cotton, onions, melons and other crops. Honey production was secondary, to the pollination service.
On a normal year he’d transition from almonds to the orange orchards then, buzz off to alfalfa seed and cotton fields to round the year out. When a ‘wet’ year occurred, the substantial rainfall provided an option to move some of his outfit to sage country on California's Central Coast in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. The bees could sit through three major honey flows: Black Sage and Buckwheat then moved a short distance to the turpentine-like smelling 'Blue Curls' (flowers) in vacant barley fields which ran into late October.
A member in good standing with the Valley Honey Association, a co-op in Stockton, the co-op sold the bulk of his product to the renowned Sioux (Sue) Bee Honey Company.
He also worked for Dallas Black of Blacks Bees in Selma, CA, another migratory bee outfit with over 6,000 colonies. Phill placed 600 of his hives on one of central California’s largest alfalfa seed pollination farms and for the record, the world's largest privately owned farm while employed with Black's (click and take a peek below)
Phill understands how to evaluate and determine the correct path of successful progression in each individual bee keeping case; from bee-fuddled top bar enthusiast to Langstroth devotee.
He is available to manage your bees, bee yard and your business full time year round. For those who yearn to become SERIOUS BEEKEEPERS, intent on learning this unique craft, from a highly qualified person who has the in- depth experience to impart years of full time beekeeping knowledge - NewBeeRescue is here for you.
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