I can remember many an occasion when one of our children would come storming into the house hollering that they had trodden on a bee on the lawn. Sadly it seems those times are gone as nowadays I often wander around our lifestyle block bare footed never fearing that I may get stung.
Like all avid gardeners I notice when the bees are about but this year more than ever they seem almost non existent. Occasionally a diligent bumble bee can be seen going about it’s business but the same can’t be said for the common “garden variety” honey bee. Spotted the bumble bee below just today whilst checking the pumpkins.
Much to my delight several months ago whilst working in the vegetable garden I found myself in the midst of a massive swarm of bees, however my joy was short lived as it was only a fleeting visit. From the time it took me to sprint from the back garden to the kitchen and back again yelling to my wife as I went, “quick come look at the bees, look at the bees” they were gone.
When Rose finally made it to the laundry door she casually commented “where are they” to which I simply replied, “you were too slow, they’re gone”.
The sky was black with this massive wave of bees and they cast a eerie shadow over a large part of the back lawn, it was an incredible sight. This was the second time I have seen this phenomenon in the 11 or so years they we have lived here.
As I sat on the back deck feeling empty and rather melancholy I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be to have them stay.
How does one catch a swarm of bees as large as that, don’t know that “yet”.
I’ve been thinking about getting some hives for some time now and seeing all those magical bees certainly set me a yearning. After many weeks of repeatedly telling my family “I’m getting bees” I finally decided to take action.
Two weeks before Christmas I called the president of the Auckland Beekeeper’s Club and was advised to attend their next meeting which was set for the 9th of January.
The outing proved to be very worthwhile and enjoyable and now I’m a paid up member of the Auckland Beekeeper’s Club.
Below are some of the photos I took and no I didn’t get stung, more good luck than good management.
Inspecting the hives.
Cup of tea and a sandwich plus opinions from the experts.
Components of Langstroth beehive … as a “beeginner” let’s see if I can get this right.
From the top:
- Metal hive cover … protects the hive.
- Inner cover … creates airspace for insulation from heat or cold.
- Honey box/super… comb building and honey production.
- Bee escape boards.
- Queen bee excluder …keeps the queen bee in the brood chambers.
- Brood box … queens lays eggs here and honey stored for brood food.
- Botton/ landing board … forms the floor of the hive.
- Hive stand … for stability.
I think that’s correct but if not please let me know. I’m sure it will all “beecome” second nature “beefore” too long.
I’ve always “beelieved” that the best way to learn is to get doing so the next step is to purchase an active bee hive. Really looking forward to doing that, should “bee” a real “buzz” sorry, I’m all excited about getting my own bees.
Hopefully by doing this the presence of the friendly honey bee will again become the norm and I will no longer be able to wander down to the garden in my bare feet. A small price to pay if it means “the return of the bees”.