Neil Bertram grew up on a grain, cattle and commercial honey farm in Manitoba. A true outdoorsman, he spent winters hunting & trapping in the area. Neil obtained a Diploma in Machine Shop from Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, MB. He has worked at many different jobs in his adult life including a welder, owner and operator of a sawmill business, leech trapping business & part time professional hunting guiding. He spent 10 winters commuting to Saskatchewan and Alberta to work winters in the oilfield for Schlumberger Oilfield Service to help grow his own commercial honey farm back in Manitoba. Neil grew the size of his farm up to 700 hives before moving to Alberta. Now, he has an acreage with 250 hives near Trochu, AB which is operated entirely off the grid.
Neil has been working bees for over 30 years. He is current treasurer of the Calgary and District Beekeepers Association and Neil is one of the teachers at the bee club’s twice-annual beginner’s beekeeping course.
Ron Miksha grew up on a truck-garden farm that had bees and greenhouses. At 16, Ron got his driver’s license and his father told him to manage the family’s 300 hives. At 18, Ron left home, moved to Florida and started raising queen bees and selling orange blossom honey. A couple years later, Ron met a Saskatchewan beekeeper who offered Ron a chance to buy 500 hives in southwest Saskatchewan – for no money down. So, Ron spent summers in Saskatchewan producing honey and winters in Florida, raising queens. Over the next 10 years, Ron made a million pounds of honey in Saskatchewan and was raising a few thousand queen bees every year in Florida.
Then, at age 33, Ron sold his south Saskatchewan honey farm and his Florida queen business and he went to the University of Saskatchewan. Ron kept 300 hives near Saskatoon while earning his degree – in geophysics. Then he moved to Calgary and kept just 10 hives of bees for 15 years, until 2005, when he built a 500-colony honey farm in Vulcan County, Alberta. It’s now Canada’s largest comb honey bee farm and it’s owned by Ron’s oldest daughter, Erika. Ron designed specialized comb honey frames and equipment which he now makes in Vietnam and sells in Australia, Chile, and here in Canada.
Over the years, Ron has written dozens of beekeeping articles for the British Bee Quarterly, the American Bee Journal, British Columbia’s BeeScene, and the Canadian Hivelights magazine. He is also author of Bad Beekeeping and he writes a blog with the same name. Ron is a past president of the Calgary and District Beekeepers’ Association and he presides over the club’s annual honey judging competitions and helps teach the club’s twice-annual beginner’s beekeeping course.