This is my first year keeping bees and I have genuinely enjoyed the experience. It is fulfilling to take a small hive (NUC) of bees and watch it grow by the thousands over the following weeks. From the very beginning, I have gone out and quietly watched the bees go about their daily activities. They have become “my girls”. My favorite view is standing right behind the hive in order to observe their comings and goings. They leave clean, but come back covered in orange or yellow pollen. There stands a row of “guards” that closely watch the entrance so no other bees besides those associated with their hive can come in and steal honey. I could stand there for hours watching their interactions. When I am actively working in the hive I wear a bee suit, but honestly, I could easily go without because they have been very docile from day one.
Imagine my dismay when I walked out for one of my casual observations to find half of one of my hives had swarmed. Swarming is when the hive begins to feel super strong, a little cramped and has an urge to repopulate. Half of the hive, including the queen, takes off to find a new home, leaving the other half to breed a new queen.
Honestly, I felt like a failure. How could they do this to me? I thought we had bonded during those soulful gatherings near the hive. I was crushed. After I allowed myself an embarrassing and pretty pathetic pity-party, I regrouped and reasoned that the best of hive stayed behind so our love fest would continue after they got their house back in order. It takes a couple of weeks for the hive to produce a new queen and then some time to get production going again, so, not wanted to be an overbearing mother, I left them alone for a few weeks. I was really excited to get back out there and check on my new girls.
After a few anxious weeks, I went out there to see how they were getting on. I imagined they were missing me hanging with them as much as I missed being out there. I was full of smiles the morning I set off on my trail leading to the hive. We were to be reunited and it was going to be great…..right?
Well, the new queen is a royal bitch. She has turned the remaining bees and their offspring into the characters from the movie “Mean Girls”. I went out to welcome her highness and her brood with most of my gear on except I had lightweight running shoes on instead of my leather boots. Those little princess bitches stung the crap out of my foot and ankle! It was like they attached themselves to my ankles with daggers. Excuse me? WTF, I thought we were family! There were like ten angry little divas all up in my face, desperately trying to get inside the netting. Needless to say, I made a hasty retreat.
As I got back to the barn I could feel my emotions grow; I was totally pissed off. So this is how it’s going to be between us now? This is how we are going to play it? I am not one to back down from a fight. So with a feeling of spite and retribution, I pulled on my leather boots, squared my shoulders and with my head held high, I clomped back out there and swiped a frame of honey from them. Yeah, who’s crying now?