Sunday, May 18, 2008

In the Bee-ginning

About a year and a half ago, I saw a UPS Next-day Air package full of bees slide down the belt at the UPS hub in Nashville, TN. This sparked my interest and so I began researching beekeeping. I told my wife that I wanted to keep bees once we moved to our new home in Alabama and she was surprisingly receptive to the idea...

Cut to April 2, 2008.

I was walking back to my office after a Spanish class at UNA and saw the most amazing sight: a swarm of bees. I had never seen a swarm in real life and I was strangely drawn to them. I approached the tree they were in, got within 3 feet of the swarm and just stood there, entranced. I spent the next two hours calling everyone I knew and asking if they had beekeeping equipment or knew where I could get some. I finally gave up and went back outside to watch the bees and a local beekeeper was already there "catching" the swarm. This catch was little more than brushing the bees off the tree they were on and into an apple box. He closed up the box and sat for a couple of hours while the stragglers found their way into the box with their queen. I missed the swarm, but had renewed my passion for the bees...

Jump ahead about two weeks.

Again, I was walking back to my office after my Spanish class and saw a ladder in/under a tree, a box on the ladder, and bees swarming around the box. I had missed another one. This box was unattended, though...
I didn't take it. I still didn't have any legitimate hive or other equipment to actually keep bees. I missed another one.

I began looking up to the colonies of bees in the building next to my own. As I circled the building, I counted no fewer than three colonies in the turrets of the building. There will certainly be more swarms. I just have to be ready. It just pays to look up once in a while.

Cut to May 5.

My wife stopped by the office to bring me lunch and informed me that one of my feral colonies was getting ready to swarm. It also just happened to be an afternoon in which we were anticipating a major thunderstorm with a possible tornado. I went out to see the colony and watched as they filed into the hive, not out of it. The swarm was imminent, I could feel it. I just didn't have any hive...

So I called a friend who had a dozen hives or so. He was interested in catching the swarm and if I couldn't have the bees, at least someone I knew could benefit from them. We made plans to meet at my office the next morning and see what we could do about catching the swarm.

Next morning, my friend was late, had to leave town, and I had another appointment to make. We missed the swarm, but he gave me a hive. I won't miss another one. NO WAY.

No comments: