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home : business : business June 24, 2016

5/7/2013 12:44:00 PM
Folks swarm for bee demonstration
Peter Liddell shakes about 10,000 bees into their new home. photo by Sue Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Peter Liddell shakes about 10,000 bees into their new home. photo by Sue Anderson

By Sue Anderson

Keeping bees is a hot pursuit nowadays, ever since it became known that bee hives were collapsing at an alarming rate. Nature's best pollinators were dying by the millions for reasons unknown and people wanted to save these helpful insects.

And having your own backyard honey supply is a bonus.

Eric and Peter Liddell of Sisters love local honey and wanted to have enough hives to supply themselves and their extended family (there's a lot of them) with plenty of the liquid gold. Their grandfather was a beekeeper and they thought it would be nice to keep a family tradition going.

Pretty soon they were building hives, learning how to capture swarms and attending beekeepers meetings. It wasn't long before they became the local experts. The more they shared their enthusiasm and knowledge with anyone interested, the more others wanted to have their own project.

They soon discovered there was no local bee supply center, and ordering from other parts of the country was expensive. The only solution was to become a center themselves, carrying everything one would need to get started plus offering help and expertise.

Last Saturday, they set up a live demonstration on assembling a hive, including how to install the bees themselves. The parking lot of Sisters Screen Printing & Embroidery (where Eric works) was buzzing with activity for about three hours as more than 100 people attended to learn how to activate their new hives and pick up their boxes of about 8,000-10,000 bees.

Although there were plenty of bees flying everywhere, no one got stung as the little ladies were only concerned about their queen and nothing else mattered. Christopher Liddell, another brother, handed out pre-ordered boxes of bees and other family members helped answer questions and fill supply lists.

People came from as far away as Silver Lake and John Day.

The Liddell brothers have revived their grandfather's sweet business, even down to replicating the old label.

"This is turning into quite an adventure and we're lovin' it," said Peter. "And we're happy to talk bees to anyone who is interested."

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