Hubs and I have talked this issue nearly to death and have both agreed on getting an apiary. We both agreed from the beginning to get one, but there has been debate on where to put it, what needs to be in place before we get one, what equipment we need, etc. Today, I took my first bee-keeping course, and to my surprise, was fascinated, thrilled and not the least bit anxious.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I’ve had a phobia of wasps and bees for quite some time. I’m one of those people who stands stock still and pretends that if I do, they can’t see me. I’m logical enough to rationalize the fact that it will likely hurt, but that I won’t die if I get stung, and yet for the longest time I was paralyzed with fear just thinking about any stinging insect with stripes. The thing that exacerbated that fear for me was definitely the noise. If they flew by my ears at any point, I did the “run in place” move where you’re so scared you try to run but don’t really go anywhere… So going into today, I was expecting to need to take deep breaths and think happy thoughts to work through mini-anxiety attacks. I warned my instructor and told her that while I think my fear is mainly aimed at large wasps, bees still scares me.
It was awesome. SOOO much better than I thought it would be. And I didn’t even get stung (though I know I will be eventually as a future beekeeper)! I think my fears were diminished primarily by the fact that I was a) with a professional beekeeper and b) wearing a bee suit… so I definitely don’t think I was all “brave” and whatnot. I was still anticipating having some trouble being around the bees though so it was a pleasant surprise to be completely comfortable around them. At one point I even *gasp* referred to them as cute.
It’s a truly fascinating (and brutal) little mini society run by humming females who work hard and are cut throat! For example, the first queen to hatch kills all the other queen larvae. Or, the worker bees will sometimes kick the drones (males) out to starve (sometimes ripping their wings off first — brutal right?!) during the winter. Yeeesh! It’s amazing how much work bees do and how quickly they do it.
I learned a tremendous amount about their lives, the work they do, and how our use of pesticides affects them. People don’t realize how much we rely on these little pollinators and how much they are affected by the chemicals we use. Even at a distance or long before the bees even get to the plant.
It will definitely be a labor of love to look after the bees once we get them but we’re both excited and can’t wait to get our hive and colony up and running. Our hive boxes won’t be arriving until December so we likely won’t order any bees until late January or early February as there’s no point in getting bees in the middle of the winter. Hopefully that means we’ll have a solid colony and maybe some honey for harvest by the end of next year. Yay!
Here are some photos from today.