This is my third year installing a new package of bees. I have hopes that I’ve sufficiently learned from the failures of the first and second year to be able to quip that the third time is indeed the charm. We’ve moved the location of the hive to a sunnier spot (although a truly sunny location is absent in our backyard). Conveniently, that sunny location is near a window in the house… which means that our foster kiddos got to see something few people really get to see in person: beekeepers in action.
As foster parents and beekeepers we need a safety plan in place that addresses how we will keep the kiddos safe around bees. One of the rules is that the children can only participate in beekeeping if we have a signed high-risk activity waiver. We don’t, so they can’t. The other rule is that they cannot be unsupervised in the backyard where the hive is kept. The last rule is that they cannot go outside for an hour after we’ve inspected a hive (or installed one). However, since the hive location is visible from a window in the house, we asked if they wanted to watch us install the bees, and they leapt up and raced off to the designated window. We took that at as a yes.
The kiddos were enthused at the ability to watch us install the package of bees. Once we got truly going and bees started flying out from the package, I could hear some squeals of protest emanating from the house. Those squeals became quite the shriek when I dumped the first and largest clump of bees onto the top of the frames and as I thwacked the package of bees onto the ground to better dump more into the hive. I don’t know if with these slick moves we became the astonishing bee whispers or the lunatic foster parents who may sprout off the benefits of being stung with bee venom (which is legit crazy in my view). At the very least, we inspired some curious questions about bees and bee behavior. One of the kiddos did declare us crazy though, so maybe we’re not far off from that lunatic designation.
My kiddo may be right to question my sanity. We beekeepers are an odd bunch. After all, my favorite part of installing a package is picking up the bees. I love how the noise of the outside world, car traffic, birds whistling, you name it, fades away to this ominous buzzing hum behind me as I shut the car door and hear only the bees in the car. Sure, I’m definitely a more anxious driver with a package of bees in the car (please don’t hit me!), but it’s also a little fun to play chauffeur to buzzing bunch of bees that will bring me much pleasure this summer. I’ve already spent several blissful minutes watching bees come and go from the hive as they become acquainted with their new home.