For the past few weeks, I have been in contact with our mentor, Greg, from the local beekeepers' club about picking up our nuc, and last night I got word that the queen had been introduced successfully and our hive was ready to go! We drove out to his place right away to pick up our nuc.
When we arrived, Greg was suiting up and getting the smoker ready. He went out behind his garage to retrieve our hive and bring it out to the car for us while we made small talk with another beekeeper who was there to pick up some bees as well. When Greg returned with our hive, we reminded him again that we were a little apprehensive about our hour long drive home with thousands of bees in the car with us, so he made sure to close off the entrance with a piece of paper towel. We were still a little worried about the bees escaping through the outer cover, so he rearranged it slightly to make sure they couldn't get out. But when doing so, a few bees did escape and we had to wait for them to exit the car. David went around to get into the driver's seat and noticed there was a bee stuck in his hair. He tried to calmly get it out, but the bee ended up stinging him right on the top of his head! I joked that at least he got his first sting out of the way already. He didn't see the humor at the time, but now I think he's coming around. At least we know he's not allergic!
After David had carefully moved the hive to the prepared spot behind the house, he made sure everything was secure and in place before removing the stopper in the entrance. As soon as the paper towel was gone, bees started pouring out of the tiny hole, eager to check out their new surroundings.
And with that, we decided to call it a night. It was getting dark, so we went inside to congratulate ourselves for a successful bee delivery and make some sugar water to feed them (we just boiled water and added sugar at a 1:1 ratio, stirring until the sugar dissolved, then let the mixture cool and it was ready to go).
This morning we woke up before the sun to suit up and get the bees fed. We moved quickly, but carefully, since it was chilly and drizzling (it's not ideal to mess with the hive under these circumstances, but we really needed to get the food in there for the bees). Luckily David got the smoker going really well straight away and we were able to get in and out with no stings and only a minimal disturbance to the hive.
It's so funny to think back to several years ago when I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and fell in love with the book. It is one of my all-time favorites. Little did I know that I would be keeping bees myself one day. My favorite part of the book is when the main character describes her first lesson in tending to the bees from an experienced beekeeper -
“I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette.' She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.”
For some reason, that passage really stuck with me throughout the years. Now I understand why. It's so humbling to look back and know that in some small way, I was being prepared for my future even though I didn't realize it at the time.
I'm so glad the bees are finally here and now we can jump head first into learning all there is about them. I hope you'll follow along with us on our beekeeping journey!
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