I remember when I first started keeping bees. I was so excited! I took a class with a local club. I read the books. I watched television documentaries. I investigated newspaper articles. I spoke to experienced beekeepers. And I had a mentor.
I was ready to tackle the interesting world of beekeeping head on. I was going to know all there was to know these little buggers so that I wouldn't be the gloomy looking fellow at the club meetings in the back of the room that mumbled about killing all of his bees this past season. I was going to do everything right. I knew that everyone that had come before me had done their best, but now, there was more information and I had all the tools to tread a new path, blaze the new trail to success, shine a beacon of hope to all that would come after me. First though......I had to just get these bees from the screened box in the county park lot, to their new home in my backyard.
My mentor was there, smiling and being ever the optimist. She said I would do fine. "Just take your time, remember what you have learned, and be gentle with the "girls". "Girls" is what she calls the bees, since, in the package they pretty much all were....female.
So there I am, in my yard, with my shiny new smoker billowing away, crisp white vailed coveralls, freshly painted unstained hive tool and a spray bottle full of sugar water. Running through my head, step one, step two, step three, no,no, that was step four....whats step three, whats step three....oh yeah the bees! They are step three. Okay okay, calm down, you can do this I said to myself. A friend had decided he wanted to be involved too so he was calmly counseling me on the next steps....until he goes quiet. Whats next? Who knows. He forgot. I don't know. So we call our mentor. The phone rings and rings and rings and goes to voice mail. We are done in for!
After a half hour of terror, we get the job done. Bees were buzzing in their new hive and drinking the new sugar syrup from the brand new feeder jar.
That first season was a success, but then came the next year and things started to go downhill.....
To be continued...