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Mom, Me and Our Bees 5 – Bringing the Buzz Home: The Arrival of Our Bees

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower. – Kin Hubbard

A Journey Filled with Anticipation

The wait for our bees was a blend of excitement and impatience, culminating in a chilly, rainy April morning that felt like the beginning of a new chapter. My mom and I drove to the apiary, where our nucleus (nuc) boxes, each a small, buzzing community of potential, were ready for pickup. Loading three sealed boxes into my hatchback, the drive home was a testament to anxiety—trusting in the security of the boxes while being acutely aware of the thousands of bees mere inches away.

Settling In: The New Hive on the Block

Arriving home, we carefully moved our bees to their prepared spot in the backyard, atop raised pallets that would serve as their new foundation. Removing the entrance screens, we allowed them to explore their new realm. However, the need for additional food to support wax production on new frames led me to a beginner’s error. In the calm of the early morning, I opened the first box without the smoker—a decision that resulted in a minor, albeit instructive, encounter with a bee’s stinger.

The Role of Smoke in Beekeeping

Understanding the purpose of the smoker became a pivotal lesson from this experience. Its use encourages the bees to move deeper into the hive, simulating a natural response to potential wildfires. This behavior allows beekeepers safer access for maintenance, a practice rooted in both tradition and practicality, demonstrating a harmonious balance between bee and keeper.

Growth and Challenges: Navigating New Responsibilities

The subsequent weeks were a period of rapid learning and adaptation. Managing my own hives, distinct from the experiences with Stan, presented a new set of challenges and rewards. The bees’ growth exceeded my expectations, necessitating diligent management of feeding and space to prevent overcrowding and promote healthy colony expansion.

A Tale of Two Hives

Our beekeeping journey took a bittersweet turn when one hive began to show signs of distress, refusing the syrup feed and ultimately leading to a swarm. This loss was a hard-earned lesson in the unpredictability of nature. Meanwhile, our pink hive thrived, expanding vigorously into a robust community, a beacon of success amid the trials.

Lessons Learned: The Bees’ Schedule

The most significant challenge in integrating beekeeping into my life was aligning with the bees’ inherent schedule. Their needs and behaviors, dictated by instinct and survival, often disregarded my plans. This lesson in adaptability and respect for nature’s rhythms underscored the essence of beekeeping: a partnership where understanding and cooperation are key to mutual flourishing.

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