I’m Jonathan Hargus, and I used to work in the commercial beekeeping industry full of harsh chemicals, feeding bees high fructose corn syrup.
Now I’m on a mission to help beginner beekeepers to create the skills and gain the experience to keep honey bee hives successfully, using Biodynamic & Sustainable Methods.
After experiencing frustrations and limitations in the conventional commercial beekeeping practices for over 15 years and then creating my own system for keeping bees sustainably, I now help beekeepers gain the experience needed to pursue their passion for honey bees and build successful practices that give them the confidence to know WHAT to do, WHEN to do it & HOW to do it.
It’s my Job to take the guesswork out of beekeeping for you…Jonathan Hargus
Many of my students have experienced larger honey crops, healthier colonies and even better…the confidence they need and want to know how to keep bees in every season.
I am a beekeeper with 21+ years of experience, living in the north Georgia mountains of the Southern Appalachians.
The honey I produce has become highly sought after and I mentor local beginner beekeepers to reach their goals. Selling 5-frame nucs and locally adapted mated queens, I get to have the satisfaction knowing that beekeepers are looking for a better way to keep bees and I get to have a part in their journey for that.
I wanted to reach more than just local beekeepers alone so I launched a YouTube Channel under The Hive Doctor. It’s designed to help beekeepers get started by taking the guesswork out of beekeeping.
Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire
15 Comments Add yours
Great read, Jonathan!
Well thank you very much! I appreciate your appreciation 🙂
I climbed the Hunt Trail on Katahdin a few years back with my son. It kicked my butt. We got down after dark, despite having started early in the day. I was unable to walk for several days (though I did manage to drive home!)
Thankfully working with bees is not nearly as physically hard.
Oh wow!! Yes, I’ll take the hardest bee work over Katahdin any day 😂
I found your site from Facebook beekeeping forums, and have learned much from your posts as a new beekeeper. You mentioned that you believe bee research is “barking up the wrong bee.” I’m a student currently pursuing insect research, particularly focusing on how habitat loss affects the Hymenoptera order, and will likely finish my studies with a long-term western honey bee research project. I’m curious, where do you think bee research is going wrong? As an experienced beekeeper, what would you identify as the causes that are leading to the symptoms fascinating so many researchers?
Hey I’m so glad you brought this up. Your research sounds really awesome! I hope you have interesting results to share afterwards, something that will help. But yes, I would love to share what I mean about research looking in the wrong areas for the answers to our bee problems. It’s very similar to the modern pharmaceuticals; treating symptoms rather than the root cause. Research seems to be looking to find a more resistant bee that an withstand the Varroa mite. That’s like trying to find the equivalent of humans who are tick resistant. It simply doesn’t happen. Ticks and mites crawl and get on the bodies of their hosts. There’s definitely a problem with our bees when it comes to disease and pests but they’re not the primary issue. Commercial beekeeping practices are the real culprit in my opinion. I used to be a commercial beekeeper which is how I know. It’s their practices of migration and large-scale monocrop pollination services that is the problem. I have written another post on how honey bees have become the new monocrop. The bees are dying because of these practices of treating the honey bee as a commodity, loading them on shipping trucks by the hundreds, shipping them for 3-5 days across the country to a different season/temperature. Unloading them on a single source for pollen, limiting their protein diet, then they become sprayed with something that doesn’t kill but it does render the queen infertile. Then the bees are loaded back up and shipped again to pollinate another crop hundreds of miles away. It’s like a bordello of brood. I believe it is disgusting. This world needs less commercial beekeepers and more local small-scale beekeepers providing local pollination while maintaining sustainable practices. Anyways, this would be really easy for me to go on but I do hope that I have communicated the gist of how I feel. I hope this helps answer your question in some way and I appreciate you asking. Good luck with you research, always a help!
Much of the research I come across is, as you said, about the new bee that is supposedly mite resistant or genetic modifications that could supposedly make bees more resistant to disease. I know researchers trying to breed all types of bees from all over the world to create a ‘superbee.’ Maybe it is time that beekeepers learned how to keep the type of bee that naturally thrives in their area rather than creating a bee that will cater to commercial industries. It makes sense that bees would thrive in the habitats they have evolved for and adapted to over time, with a variety of plants and not moving all over as another product. I do think that beekeeping seems intimidating and expensive to many that would keep local, small-scale operations with better resources – that’s where beekeeping mentors come in, I suppose! Thank you for sharing.
Wow! You said that very well. Thank you for your insight on this. One of my main goals is to maintain locally adapted stock. So far, I have very hood success as long as I stay on top of mites.
Jonathan – I read your article about SMB and how to use DE to control them. I’ve had a big problem for years and would like to give your method a try. I’ve searched online but it seems the only DE I can find is the food grade. Can you tell me where you buy yous and what brand you recommend?
Greatly appreciated …
Hey! So food grade will work fine. I just mention non food grade in case there’s additional cost.
You are really doing greatly amazing,I wish you could be my mentor🤗
Wow, thank you for that compliment!
I really do have interest in keeping bees right from time though,let me just say I have passion for it.
I planted a garden of flowers and registered it with three different places… National Wildlife Federation, Monarch By way, and Wild Ones also working with other pollinator web sites too! I am not a beekeeper …I am working with a garden so that beekeepers in my area will have areas for thier bees to get honey! I say it is good for both enthusiast!
I put up my no trespassing and registered garden information signs to let the people know what I am doing! I keep a record of all that I buy and plant and monitor bees and pollinators that come into the garden!
I would like to see new U.S.A. laws and hire fines protecting beekeepers’ property and all garden owner’s gardens safe from intrusions and interference, threats from unauthorized people that could cause harm, damage to the owner and especially for the any garden no matter what size or where it is planted and protect from damage to property meant for conservation or productivity with bees and pollinator gardening activities!
Something like what the hunters have with thier new protection law!
I hope everyone else will say yes to this idea as it is very important work with both activities even at the non-federal or non-state protection law level!
This will in turn help where laws do not protect wildlife and will help where animals are protected and help protect futures for all even hunting as without pollinators there wouldn’t be no food and we all need that to do everything else!
Wow Diane! I absolutely love this idea and admire your dedication to such an important key to environmental improvement. Do you have a website or anything?