I spent the weekend leading up to Bee-Day, poring over pages of bee facts and beekeeping videos. The more I learned, the more excited I got and the more my state of awe regarding bees grew. Conversations NOT about bees, went in one ear and out the other. I was focussed on finally fulfilling my long time desire to be an urban beekeeper. My eye was firmly fixed on the prize.
Day 1 – Apiary to collect Nuc & transfer to brood box.
We excitedly and nervously approached the warehouse. The roller door was up with plastic door strips hanging, alongside a yellow door with sign saying “open” As we entered everybody laughed because we used the door instead of the garage entrance. Apparently when you’re nervous, it’s a lot easier to just follow signs and familiar structures. Haha
Our eyes grew large as we looked around the space filled with beekeeping equipment, honey jars, honey varieties in VATS and bee alchemy products. I was in heaven!
Everybody we spoke to was genuine, down-to-earth and clearly nature/ animal lovers. My kind of peoples.
We eagerly bought a number of different sized jars. Although we knew it would be some time before our first harvest, we felt our over-preparedness might encourage our bee family to be happy and productive sooner. Manifesting our beekeeping success.
As we stood by the counter, a box (looking like a crate of wine) was brought in and we glared at each other – knowing immediately that was our box of bees. My tummy did a flip flop as reality sunk in that I was finally here, the moment I had been waiting for, that was my nuc, with my queen and her thousand or so worker bees and it would be my job to love and nurture them to thrive and do their special work of keeping my planet healthy though pollination. My heart was bursting.
We strapped the nuc in the back of the car and it was a surreal 20 minute drive home knowing we were transporting a box of bees.
We positioned the nuc atop the brood box and allowed them to settle for a few hours. It was a long few hours and I was impatient but I waited like a responsible beekeeper would and when the time came I suited up and sat the nuc alongside the brood box ready for transfer.
We gently smoked the entrance and frames before attempting to pry the sticky frames out of the nuc box. My heart was racing, pure adrenaline I suspect, as I took deep breathes to try to calm myself and steady my hands as I went to work transferring the frames one by one to their new home. It was a strange feeling to fight my natural instinct to get the hell out of there. Hundreds of bees flew around me, some bumping into my head net, as I gently spoke to them telling them, we were a team now, that I am part of their colony, that I will love them and care for them and we are in this together. I asked them to stay calm, so we wouldn’t lose anyone in the process. I giggled to myself when I heard my high pitched sing-song voice trying to convince them, but probably more-so myself, that we would be OK.
Caleb wore gloves that were just too thin and got stung about 7 times. My mind played tricks on me, and I swore I could feel a bee inside my head net flying around my ear. There was of course, nothing in there. My heart sunk, when 2 girls landed on my left glove and released their stings. I tried to talk them out of it but they were too brave and determined to protect the hive.
When we were done, I realised despite my breathing exercises and self-talk my body was in a fairly tensed state. I moved away from the hive, and Caleb wrapped his arms around me saying “well done bee mama”. My eyes brimmed with tears, as this realisation hit me.
A dream was coming true.
My latest adventure in this life, raising and caring for these phenomenal creatures who I knew (before I even got them) would change me, how I see, how I love.
**Update: 7 days in and the bees have been so busy bringing in pollen, we decided we’d better take a look inside the hive. I was completely floored. They had almost filled one empty frame and had pulled through a second one about halfway. The comb is perfect. Bees festooning. Eggs and larvae, capped and uncapped honey the mystery of their ways tickled all my senses. Stay tuned!