Annoying, pain-in-the-butt flying insects.
Buzzing around like they own the place. And the worst part? They sting you. And it really hurts.
90% of the population would run for the hills if one got too close. If flight wasn’t an option, swatting mercilessly until they were a smear on the bottom of a flip-flop is the only choice to avoid a painful throbbing sting.
And then there is that other 10%. A different breed of human who not only accepts these striped insects for who they are but hosts them and comes in contact with them FOR A LIVING.
My first thought was that the only explanation for this behaviour is psychosis.
As I am sure you have guessed, I am talking about bees. Up until recently, I was right there with the majority in the “run for the hills” category. Actually, let’s be honest, for now I still am.
So why in the world am I starting a beekeeping blog you may ask. Well, my interest was first sparked by the Cheerios wildflower campaign. I had never paid much attention to the welfare of honeybees until the campaign came out and shone a light on the influence of these pollinators and the struggles they are currently and rapidly facing.
Then my attention grew...
All of a sudden they went from vicious pests to innocent victims. They appeared to be invading our lives and homes when really it is the reverse. After the guilt set in, I thought to myself this might be an issue I could do something about. I tried to order the flowers online but they had sold out. Of course, I could've just gone to the store and bought some wildflower seeds, but a different idea came to my mind.
Could I become a beekeeper? Do people even keep bees as a hobby?
If I really wanted to make an impact, keeping some bees in the backyard as a hobby would definitely be a step in that direction. As far as I knew the only people who kept bees in my community were the few local honey companies from the farmers market. Isn't that something families passed down to one another? How do you decide to just "be a beekeeper".
As I delved in, the research I had deemed easy at first shot straight uphill until I had a mound of questions. These questions of course growing into sub-questions until I was deep in a YouTube rabbit hole watching a two hour long video on re-queening an aggressive hive and adding a package of bees to my Amazon cart.
I began to think "Okay, so there is ALOT more to this"
And, eventually, the doubt crept in. Did I almost bite off way more than I could chew and would inevitably choke on?
All the information I had tried to drink in and make sense of began swirling around in my head. This stuff seemed like it took years to master. And not only that but a lot of people I was reading about and gazing at clearly made beekeeping their life. What if I didn't want it to be my life? I want to keep my day job and go on vacation and stay inside on miserable days and sleep in on weekends. I don't want a full-time bee life.
Not to mention, could one person deal with all this workload? Thankfully, deciding to start everything up at my parent's house meant I could rely on their support and hopefully other family members or friends.
My first step was to rally a group of people (suckers?) to start out my venture with me.
I figured having something thats "ours" rather than "mine" already seemed like less of a chore.
When my sister and I were young we used to clean each other's rooms together. We both did mine first (as I am the oldest which automatically makes me the boss) and hers after.
Inevitably we would get bored and hers would teeter between a 6/7 out of 10 on the tidy scale, but none the less it was much more fun to do together. By scrounging up some volunteers to help me on this project, I am convinced it will be much more fun and interesting. I just hope we don't start full tilt and finish with half-built hive pieces covered with snow on the back lawn.
Some convincing commenced but after it was all done I had three people committed to help try to turn this dream into a reality.
Leah, Heather and Jodi set out to help me get started and at least learn more about honey bees. Help with research, planning and of course, the actual grunt work would be huge.