The Bee-ginning

Seasoned beekeepers probably groan at these puns. I expect that eventually I’ll get tired of them. But I feel morally obligated to make a few, here at the start.

So. At the heart of everything is this: One day in the middle of April, I will become the proud(?) owner of a three-pound box of bees.

(Let me spare you the thing you were about to do, where you google “how many bees are in a pound?” I just did it. The answer is: 3,000-4,000 bees per pound. So I will be bringing home between 9,000 and 12,000 bees. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?)

Furthermore, I will drive with this box of bees in my car for over two hours. I am promised that this box is bee-tight and that none will escape along the way. I drive a Toyota Prius — a vehicle known for many excellent features, none of which is exterior storage space — so I’ll pretty definitely find out whether this is true or not. I’ll let you know.

When I examine these statements objectively, they seem… a little bold. But I didn’t come to this point overnight. I became interested in beekeeping — purely from a theoretical standpoint — about five years ago. Two years ago, I went to an all-day beekeeping workshop and a couple of the local beekeeper club chapter meetings. I thought about bees and read about bees, and I bought a suburban house with a back yard that met the criterion, “Could Contain Bees*.” I thought and read some more, then went to another one-day beekeeping workshop in a different town. I bought some more books and did some more reading.

Finally, I decided that all the studying in the world can only do so much until I am actually working with bees. And here we are. I currently own a suit, a starter set of eight-frame boxes, essential equipment (including a smoker, hive tool, and bee brush**), and a three-pound box of bees on order. Also mine are boundless enthusiasm, anxiety dreams, and lots to learn. Experience will be my best teacher.

First, though, I’m going to read the last six chapters of Dewey Caron’s Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. And this weekend I’m attending one more all-day workshop.

*My real estate agent was bemused but very supportive.

**Alas, the bee brush is not used to keep your bees well-groomed.

13 thoughts on “The Bee-ginning”

  1. On August 31st, 2017 the world record for wearing a Bee Beard was set at 61 minutes, smashing the previous record by 8 full minutes. Aim high, Dr. Bertz…

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