Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Bees have arrived!

April, 2010

The birds’ songs are stronger and stronger at my home these days. They wake me up, perk me up, remind me that this chill is almost done, that spring says are just about here. Finally, I say. Finally.

The arrival of my bees highlighted this past week. I drove to Hendersonville last Sunday on a grey morning, wound up to the top of a mountain, and picked up my “nucs” (the nucleus of the hive.) Each nuc contained a queen and a whole bunch of bees, four frames loaded with workers, babies, a few drones, and a lot of promise.

I tucked the boxes into my car, trying not to be concerned about the few bees hanging on to the outside of the boxes. I need not have worried. All they wanted was to be inside those boxes. They were not at all interested in me.

We drove home, notifying my sister when we were nearly there. I am the new beekeeper but she is my security blanket, standing by, assuring me, silently, that all is well. In truth, again, I had nothing to worry about. The bees had been in their nuc for time enough that all they really wanted, I suspect, was to get out, stretch, settle into their new, roomier digs.

I’d spent the afternoon before their arrival painting, organizing, readying my property for their arrival. My hives had been in my back yard but, after losing them two years in a row, I decided to shift them to the front. It’s a sunny spot and I get to see them all the time. Much better. Much.

By Sunday my excitement took over, replacing any trepidation I might feel about the transfer, the opening of the nuc box, the handling of the frames of bees. The bees hardly made a noise as I opened the lid, lifted out a frame at a time, installing them into their new spot. I breathed more easily after I’d finished the first nuc, and by the second one I took my time, looking, noticing, enjoying the exploration. Queen! Worker! Baby! Wow!.

And on Wednesday my mentor came by to check. Together we went back in, opening up each hive, looking at each frame (there 20 in each hive), identifying, cleaning, checking.

All is good so far. My bees are healthy and strong. And I am determined to do whatever I can to make sure they stay that way. I’ll keep you posted – and will hopefully share some honey with you this season. Stay tuned.

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