Monday, April 20, 2020

A day of learning

NOTE: This is an update on yesterday’s post.
I put on my bee suit this morning as the coffee dripped and walked down to the apiary. Standing behind, I placed my hands on the sides to feel for that tale-tale vibration of happy bees. A sense of unease trickled up from my stomach. I laid my ear on the top of the hive. Nothing.

When I flipped open the hive top, the box was empty. I'm not sure where they went, but they were no longer on the property. I felt as if I had failed them.

Later, I called my beekeeper buddy and told him the news. He understood why I was bothered.

My research from yesterday showed me some things I can do in the future, so when I asked my mentor about building feeders, he told me to come over this afternoon that he had a couple he would give me.

When I showed up, he not only had feeders, he had a professional coat and veil that was still in the shipping container. He said I could take it and reimburse him later, but I wrote him a check.

He was working his bees when I drove up and asked if I wanted to help for a while. I put on my new suit and started opening hives. For the first time, I found the queen bee in a hive. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but with 10,000 bees on a box not much bigger than a toaster, it's pretty hard finding the queen.

I also got to do a hive inspection with someone explaining what to look for and what it looked like up close. It was exhilarating.

As I was taking off my bee suit, he asked me if I had a tie-down strap in my truck. I did. He walked over to the edge of his apiary and picked up a NUC, which is an abbreviated beehive. It only has five frames, but it was full of bees. If it had not been a time of social distancing, I would have hugged his neck.

I learned more today in about a half-hour in an apiary with an experienced beekeeper that I've learned in all the books I've read so far.


  1. Books will give you an insight into the mysteries of beekeeping and these days videos and YouTube are touted as holding the answer to everything you want to know.
    But none of these things will hold a candle to face to face explanations and demonstrations.
    The face looking out at you from the phone/computer screen does not recognise the fleeting look of uncertainty about the next step in the process.
    Your mentor is worth his weight in gold, something I'm sure you recognise and appreciate.

  2. What a WONDERFUL day. And what a generous man - with his knowledge perhaps more than the material gifts.

  3. It's good that you have your bee-hind covered by a knowledgeable bee keeper. Good luck with the beekeeping.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. It is a blessing you've found a friend willing to share their expertise. It seems bee keepers be good people.

  5. Yes, a wise teacher is GOLD. There are many people willing to help one learn, but few who know the buttons to push and the ones to ignore.
    I like to think back through life at my teachers. All were dedicated, BUT TWO of them could keep you on the edge of your seat, and I learned from them.
    Enough. I think we all get a kick out of reading about the bees, even without the birds. LOL
    Sherry & jack Y'all be safe.

  6. wise teachers are great as are students may attention


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