All the classes, planning, talking, worrying and preparation had lead to this day, Thursday May 12th 2016, the day we picked-up our bees. I was as giddy as a school girl all day. The bottled up excitement nearly lead me to tears more than once throughout the day.
It had been more than a year since Katrina and I first talked about putting a beehive in my back field. It had been a lifelong love of bees that lead me to this point, to this day. Even as a small child I would carry dying honey bees carefully in my hands and beg my mom to make them better. As I became an adult and would get stung I would feel guilty that my carelessness had lead to the death of a bee. Now the day had come and I was buzzing with excitement.
On Tuesday I had talked to a friend that had picked-up his bees the previous Saturday. You may remember he had showed us his hive last spring and sadly was robbed by robber bees. He told me we could expect to pick-up our hive in the evening and then do the installation the next day (mid-day). Oh dear, THIS was not part of our plan. Next he told me, you HAVE to feed them. When you get them they don’t have enough food stores due to a sparse nectar flow. THIS was definitely NOT part of our plan. We were very set on not feeding our bees. Bees are made to forage for their food and that was what we wanted them to do. Well we all know the saying about the best laid plans…
The boys were at an after school activity and the husbands were ready to get them, and start dinner. So Katrina and I were finally off to pick-up our bees. As we drove we chatted excitedly and took a selfie to commemorate the moment. Our pick-up time was 6:30pm and we had planned to get there early because we had a few things to pick-up at the storefront. We got our things asked a few questions about feeding our bees and hit the register. This is when Katrina asked that question that I think momentarily blew both of our minds.
Katrina: “So, where do we go to pick-up our bees”
Shopkeeper: “You just go around out back, Dan’s down there and he’ll help you.”
Katrina “You mean they’re HERE? Why did we have to come so late in the day?”
Shopkeeper “Well they have to come back in from foraging.”
I think Katrina and I had both imagined that we would show up and there would be a truck unloading full boxes of bees for you to pick-up and go home. That was not the case. As we went around back we were greeted with the sight of 40+ little boxes with active hives in them. Little bees were darting in and out of the little opening in the front. I think we both had the same idea; we were not leaving until every little bee was back home safe in her little hive! As we waited we listened to everyone asking questions and the answers. We made small talk with some of the other customers picking up their bees. There was a wide range of people there, from newbees to veterans with 20+ years of experience. Then we meet Jason. Jason was helping strap up and cork the nuc boxes and carrying them to cars for people. He was wearing Star Wars inspired bee shirt. We told him how cool it was and I flashed my own Star Wars shirt I was wearing. We chatted with Jason for awhile longer, we took a selfie with him. It grew colder as the sun started to go down. It was now finally time to get our ladies and go home.
I think Katrina was a bit nervous that there was talk that some of the boxes had leaked bees in the cars on the way home. She was as nervous as a new parent driving their newborn home for the first time. She took every stop and go very slowly and rounded every corner very gingerly. We finally made it home and walked our box of bees out to the back field next to their new hive and uncorked it. They were finally home and their journey was just beginning. Tomorrow was moving day…