Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Humbled by Honeybees

These little bees in these hives have humbled me more than I can possibly explain!   Last year, I started beekeeping and little did I know what I was in for.  I have taken several classes, read lots of books and asked tons of questions and I still feel like I know nothing.  I must admit, I don't like that feeling.   It makes me feel very vulnerable.   This beekeeping thing has been one big crazy experiment.  I have learned quite a lot, but feel very overwhelmed by it sometimes.  I talked to a lady a few weeks ago and she told be that she has been beekeeping for 20 years and still feels like she is learning.   Quickly, I have realized that beekeeping is not for the faint of heart, nor is it always predictable.

Last week, I could tell that one of my hives was about to swarm and I was hoping I could get to my beekeeping class to learn about hive splitting before they did.   Well, I made it to my class, but in the middle of class I got a text from my husband telling me, "I think one of your hives are swarming right now." Over our lunch break, I was able to run home and check.  Sure enough, one of the hives had swarmed.    This sent me a little over the edge, since it wasn't the best timing...I had to be back in class in 1 hour!  As I was a ball of stress and frustration, my husband thought it was great and perfect timing since I had just learned about bees swarming.

Luckily, the swarm of bees didn't go far, they were in a tree right next to the hives.  My instructor gathered all the students and we had a little impromptu field trip to my backyard, where we caught the swarm. Here is a picture of where the swarm first landed on the tree.
 Then the swarm dropped to the ground.
I was also was able to go into my other hive and do a split to prevent this hive from swarming.  Swarming is something bees do naturally, but usually beekeepers split their hives every spring to prevent it.  Needless to say, I have a white box called a Nun of bees I need to sell since I'm not wanting to start a third hive.

Aside from the swarming, both hives looked really good and my instructor said he hasn't seen a better looking hive this spring.  So I guess there is a silver lining! It was nice to have my instructor here looking at my hives instead of just me wondering to myself, "Do I even know what I'm doing?" Because, often that is truly what I'm thinking.  

Beekeeping is unpredictable and frustrating at times.
It's painful when I get stung.  The sting itself isn't very bad but the big welt I get on my body itches like crazy and swells up.
I still feel like I'm knee deep in learning and don't think I will be good at it anytime soon.  It literally feels like I'm stuck in a science experiment. I might get it right or I might get it wrong.  Time will tell.
Its definitely not been the cheapest hobby either.
However, it's one of those things I'm determined to continue to do, and I will continue to be humbled by these little bees.  Even if I need a support group for it.
Beginning beekeepers need lots of support!

With that, my name is Melissa.  I'm a beginning beekeeper.  I've made lots of mistakes, learned by trial and error, and will continue to persevere for just a few drops of honey!

1 comment:

  1. That looks scary! I'm glad you had some help dealing with that.