“Merry Christmas, we’re going on an Introduction to Bees Day” were the words from my husband Tom, and that was it…hooked!
Six months later and we’ve also completed the course. I thought it might help with my flying insect phobia, which it did but it also gave us the desire to learn about these supremely clever creatures.
The course was enlightening but it got really exciting the day we went to the Stoneleigh Beetradex to buy suits. We were seriously overwhelmed by the piles of frames, kits, hives, tools, burners and attire. “Just the suits…Just the suits…” was our mantra that day. After an hour of trying them on we bought the most expensive suits, forgetting Kevin’s last words, “Don’t buy the most expensive suits”. Oh well, at least I feel especially protected, don’t forget my insect phobia!
We were so excited, brilliant white suits, clean wellies and new marigolds. Psyched up with meditation tips to mind we were ready for Hampton Wood Apiary meeting to confront my fears. It wasn’t long before we were all peering into a buzzing hive. So captivated was I that I completely forgot to be afraid. It was exhilarating being so close and to survive. No stings!
Tom, content that I had passed the test, I could handle frames of bees without throwing them across the woods and jumping out of my wellies in fright, ordered the hive. Now to find some bees. This is where Chris came in, with his infectious enthusiasm and generous nature, coming over one warm evening to install a small colony with a queen cell into our little hive. We could hardly wait. Just lighting the burner was great fun. It has never been quite so shiny again.
Since this momentous evening we have become like new parents again. Gazing at the entrance lovingly, talking about them non-stop to anyone willing to listen, and arguing about what’s best for them and of course sleepless nights! The only difference this time is the lack of a Mother and Baby Group, but that is really what the Stratford Bee Keeping Association is. It is their support and education at the apiary meetings, and Chris at the end of a phone that has settled us into parenting bees. Everyone involved is approachable and brilliantly knowledgeable, what a great organisation.
We are currently thrilled to have a queen in residence and lots of healthy bees. So we’re off to good start and keen to see what the future will bring….honey with any luck!