Welcome to the farm honeybees! My Dad finally deemed the bees ready to move to their new home and made the trip out yesterday. Here he is setting up the hive.
When I was little I was Dad’s bee assistant. No, I did not get the official beekeeper’s veil, but stood nearby enough to fetch and carry as needed while he worked the bees. Then, when the honey was ready I helped clean the racks after he cut the honeycomb out. I learned early on that you get the most bee stings two ways. First, going barefooted outside. Bees love clover and we had clover in the yard. Second, picking up sticky honey racks before looking to see if any bees were still trying to save their honey.
People get frantic when a bee is buzzing around. They need to know that unless a bee thinks she is in danger they do not want to sting you. Why? Because she dies afterward. Just stay still and the bee will move on. These industrious creatures have more important things to do than go around terrorizing innocent bystanders. More important things like pollinating plants that make your FOOD. They don’t do that for us. They are making their own food, but it happens to be a well designed by-product of their work.
So Dad situated the hive and we all went into the house for a visit. When it was time to go we walked out to check on them and were happy to see they were already hard at work.
As evening fell they headed into the hive for the night and I was anxious to see how they were doing this morning. All my reading up on bees said to situate the hive facing East or South. Well, my Dad plopped the hive down facing West. I suspect after 60-70 years of beekeeping Dad has decided that the bees aren’t really very picky which way their front door faces. Sure enough, I got out to check on them as soon as possible and here they are starting to wake up and go to work. D. and I speculate that our bees just get to sleep in later in the morning, but work later in the evening this way. You know the rush hour traffic is probably avoided with these work hours.
One more thing off this Spring’s To Do list! Dad said I need to walk by the hive every day. I’m not sure if that is just so I can check on them or for them to get used to me or both. I do know that sitting near them yesterday listening to the hum of busy bees brought back long buried childhood memories of warm, honey sticky days with my Dad and I’m glad he was the one to get my bees off to a good start.
Photos by Christel Williams