It may sound like your worst nightmare, but for a bee-fanatic like myself, it was a dream come true. But how did I end up stuck in a Honda Fit filled with live bees?
I’ll just go ahead and get it out in the open; I’m an impulsive person.
It’s not that I hadn’t always wanted to keep bees, it’s not that I hadn’t already done some research. In fact, I had everything planned out. I’d read actual books (books!) on beekeeping. I’d even had a local beekeeper show me a few of his hives. I had planned to get bees… just not for a while.
But when an old friend, who happens to be an apiarist offered me a free nuc and all the equipment I would need to care for them – well, who would say no to that?
Probably someone smart, and reasonable, but like I said, I’m impulsive.
And so off we went. On a nine hour road trip. Me, my mother, and 3,000 new little buddies all packed into a tiny blue car.
So I suppose this is where a discussion on inevitability might be warranted. I mean, a brand new beekeeper, a small, rickety little box filled with live bees, a tiny car stuffed to the brim with beekeeping equipment.
Did I really think the bees would just stay in their box and everything would work out great?
Well, perhaps I did. I like to think that somewhere deep in my heart I knew what I was in for, but didn’t mind, because bees are so damn cool.
Regardless of what was going through my head, it wasn’t more than 20 minutes before the first bees started leaking out.
My mom and I took turns wearing the one beekeeper’s veil we had between us, I’m sure it was a spectacular sight for the folks sharing the road with us that fine June day.
We eventually took a detour to a fabric store, bought some mesh and duct taped it behind the front seats of the car, which did a fair job at keeping us protected from six legged attackers.
This sketchy little barricade was not one-hundred percent effective, but it turned the tide of battle.
By the time we arrived in PA, there were hundreds of live bees buzzing around the car. I donned my beekeeper’s veil and, with the extreme caution of a person handling 3,000 stinging insects for the first time, moved the box to the driveway.
After a few hours most of the bees had settled back into the box, at which point I moved them a few feet over to their new home in my back yard.
So there I was – a beekeeper! It would still be a few weeks before I really felt like a beekeeper. Eventually it would become more than just a curious hobby, but a great passion, mind-consuming obsession, and dare I say, lifestyle?
But for the time being, I had bees of my very own, and that was pretty cool. I would spend every morning for the next few weeks sipping tea and watching them come and go with their little bundles of pollen and propolis.
I still do, most days.