Tuesday, April 01, 2008

She hives the bees...and gets stung

It goes something like this...

Put the newly purchased veil and gloves on, pretending like you know how it all works. Other than not knowing how to adjust the hat inside the veil (thank you for that tip Jessica) I did ok.

Remove the top cover, still pretending (fake it till you make it right?) that you can handle this without fear. Fear that you will go through all of the cost and time and worry and still have no bees because you screwed it up so badly they all leave, or die, or....


Open the top.

Remove the queen cage, remove their can of syrup feed, replace lid temporarily.
Yep, the queen really is bigger than the other bees. When they said she would be marked they really meant it. She has a big, white spot painted on her backside.

Place the queen cage inside two frames in the middle of the hive.
Oh, so carefully.
Because she is the success of the hive.

Then not-so-carefully you literally dump three pounds of pissed off bees over the frames. They are a living blob, buzzing and confused. Two of them manage to sting through the clothing. Beginning to re-think whether that suit is worth the money....

Call Kelly Lovejoy after hiving the first package to find out if you can go ahead and hive the second one with what seems like five million bees flying all over the yard and your head and the other hive. Yes, she assures me...they'll sort themselves out in the end, keep going.

So I do.
And it's ok.
Silently thank Kelly.

Wake up early every morning, nervous about whether you will have bees or just an empty hive body, nervous about whether you're feeding them enough and just how long do they need the syrup anyway? Read more on the internet. Read more in the books. Decide you've done everything ok after all.

You sit watching these amazing creatures, flying in and out, feeding on your carefully prepared syrup and fetching brightly colored pollen and you suddenly realize...

I. am. a. BEEKEEPER.

For real. And it feels great.


Jenny Hassler said...

Yay, Ren!

That sounds just wonderful! I'm glad to now be able to say, "I know a beekeeper!"

Danielle said...

Yay! I have to admit that's a bit part of why I went with nucs instead of packages. With nucs, I'll have several frames with an established queen and brood that I just slide down into my hive bodies in a very civilized fashion. *g*

Going into my bee course I'd already ordered one nuc. The course was ordering packages as well, so I considered trying one nuc and one package, but ultimately decided against the whole thousands of angry bees thing.

I'm so glad we'll be on this journey together! What fun! Your season is so far ahead of ours though. boo hoo

kelli said...

Yay! That's awesome!

Love you!

Snavleys said...

It's so fun to see you doing this after talking about it for so long. I hope you keep blogging regularly so I can pretend I'm there:) Love you!!

CG said...

A suit is worth it. The special little safari hat that goes under the veil is also worth it. And the suit and veil that zips together, yes, very nice. Lasts a long time too.

If you don't have that, go with LOOSE clothing. And light colored.

Good going Ren!

Ren said...

Yeah, Jessica has the zip together style and it looked pretty nice.:)
It's not so bad when you're hiving them but I'm thinking when you rob the hives they'll be a little more pissy.

None of my lighter colored clothing was ample enough to cover all of me.:) I don't react to the stings badly, but they are irritatingly itchy for several days.

I think the Nucs are a really great way to go. I'll be watching for your post about it Danielle!

LeaAnn said...

How cool! I'm so happy for you!

piscesgrrl said...

Wow - YOU.ARE.A.BEEKEEPER! Yay you! Really, that is such an accomplishment, as I know beekeeping is a fine and detailed art. Not for the casually curious! I'm glad you're sharing this on your blog - it's fascinating.

Cid said...

Ren...you DAZZLE me!! I look forward to following your beekeeping journey :)

CG said...

Bees are interesting. Sometimes, and in some weather, they just don't care. Other times, they are just mad when you are walking by. I got my first hive (for a boyfriend actually) from my master beekeeper uncle. He'd had some problems with arthritis. One day he was mowing in front of his hives, something he had done regularly for years, but this day it pissed them off and they came after him. He ran into his house and had to call his son to help him. They pulled out over 100 stingers from his body. BUT a while later he noticed that he hadn't been bothered by his arthritis. So then after, whenever his arthritis flared, he took a bee and crushed it on his skin (inducing a sting) (they die when they sting you anyway, which is why they really don't want to sting you). Goodness gracious but he's been dead for near 20 years now.

Christi Krug said...

Wow - so brave! I love the way you breathe, move so carefully, and describe the exciting living blob of bees! I'm glad you are doing this so I can read about it and don't have to.

Grins & hugs . . .

Anonymous said...

Ren we have done the bee keeping and tho we didnt get alot of honey, a moth invasion to the hive killed them. the process was still rememberable. my hubby saved us $$ by getting stray bee hives that were random, in trees,attics,, mind you he had not much experince ,,before then,, and yes the stings are itchy things for a while..lol..we have also started our gardening,, every thing is popping up everywhere.. laters Ren..

Melissa said...

That's GREAT Ren. You're such a wonderful model for us! The girls think...no, they KNOW you are so cool.

And the suit is worth it, just for the coolness factor.