Bees are unexpectedly affectionate. The featured photo for this post is one of my bees licking sugar water off my finger like a puppy might lap water from a hand. They are gentle by nature, unless of course, you’re trying to take their honey!
Maybe it’s our dependence on bees. Perhaps it’s our affinity for honey and other bee products. Or the fact that there is a lot we can learn from them. Or it could be our instinct to appreciate fascinating things. Whatever it is, bees have a portion of the population’s hearts like few, if any, creatures in the animal kingdom. They are heartwarming to us. And it’s phenomenal, because they are insects – which, to many, are among the most disdained living things on our planet. I’ve been intrigued with bees for the last five months, ever since watching More Than Honey on Netflix. Since then, through study, I’ve found that bees have a loyal fan base all around the world. A large – yet small – group of people fiercely devoted to protecting the future of bees. But how does this happen? This past weekend an article entitled Bees Turn into Love Bugs was published in the Evansville Courier & Press (my local newspaper). After reading the article, I understood that the process of falling in love with bees pretty much happens the same way for most people. What the author, Stephanie West, wrote was awfully reminiscent of our experience. And it also reflects the experience other beekeepers I know have had…
“Beekeeping it seems is a slippery slope. First you’re Googling “bee swarm” and the next thing you know, you’re in bee school learning how bees “waggle dance” to communicate. The day I picked up my bees was like Christmas morning. The excitement of the day had been building for months, and I was a kid bounding down the steps to see what Santa had left. The sealed, white boxes we picked up held one queen, five hive frames with an established colony and thousands of irritated worker bees that had been cooped up for two days on their trip north. When I opened up the humming boxes — decked out in my new bee suit — the bees poured out into a buzzing, energy-filled tornado around me. My adrenaline kicked into overdrive, and I knew then that this flying, stinging insect was going to be part of my life for a long time.”
Sound familiar? An interest is sparked somehow. Then seeking information and answers. Then the switch to raw local honey…and the wishing you could harvest that honey yourself. Then going to bee school. Buying a hive. A suit and hive tool. Ordering your bees. Picking them up. Installing them into the hive. Checking on them daily. Getting into the hive more often than you should. Getting stung! Worrying about them. Then being proud and amazed. All while connecting with new beekeeping friends and picking up new information about the world around you. And for me, marveling at the God that created them.
Maybe it’s the “honey”moon stage, but I’m really excited about bees right now. What drew you to beekeeping and what are your favorite things about it?