Sunday, February 26, 2012
For the past 3 Saturdays, I have attended the "Beginner's Short Course" held by the Beekeeper's Guild of Southeastern Virginia. I didn't know what to expect, and I certainly wasn't going into it with any thoughts of keeping bees... both kids are afraid of the most innocent insects, not to mention ones that have stingers (try explaining that honeybees are docile and only sting when they perceive a threat to the hive or honey...) My intent was to gain more knowledge so that when the time came for us to settle in our forever home, I could set up some hives and have honey and make soap, etc.
I loved the classes. The people are so welcoming and eager to answer newbie-questions. The bees are amazing. After the first class, I felt myself getting more excited than I should have been. Then, a friend in the area (who was unable to go to the class, and who lives on a larger lot than I do that is NOT adjacent to a school or neighbors with pools) said they really wanted bees and offered to share the hives with me, but keep them at her place. Deal!!!
So in a matter of days, we were signed up for the Mentor program offered by the Guild, and also on the Nuc list (for a 'Nuclear' colony of bees, a small colony that can move into the typical hive boxes and grow.) At the last class, I bought my gloves and jacket/veil. This week, we order the hives and other tools.
Start-up costs, including EVERYTHING, will be under $400 total. We probably won't have honey this summer (our goal is to keep them alive over next winter, then have honey in 2013). I am super excited about having this opportunity to learn and get familiar with beekeeping... so that when we do get settled in our forever home, I won't have a learning curve. I'll be able to immediately get going.
Our new girls should arrive some time in May or June. In the mean time, we have to order the hives, assemble them, pain them, and read all we can. We'll also attend the monthly meetings of the Guild (conveniently held 5 minutes down the road from us) and pick the brains of those who know more than we do! In a few weeks, we'll be hooked up with our Mentor and be able to watch them in their hives. It's all very thrilling.
Except for the occasional "Oh my word what I have gotten myself into!"