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  • Writer's picturePheng Her

We attended our first Bee Keeping class 3 years late

When someone is considering whether to begin keeping bees or not, one of the first thing that they do or recommend you is to take a beekeeping class. We did the exact opposite. 3 years ago I ordered my first bee nuc (4 frame starter colony). At the time I had a bee box and some hive tool I got off of Amazon, just the week previously. I didn't even have a bee suit at the time, nor have I ever worked with bees.

The day I was supposed to go pick up the bee nuc, I got a call that morning saying that the beekeeper would not be there along with instructions to pick up the bee nuc. Not putting much thought into it, I said, "no big deal, I'll just grab it and come home." Again, with no bee suit or experience I make the drive 1 hour away to the farm. Once I got to the farm I quickly realized I was way over my head. I had never seen so many bees in my life before. This may be just my fear speaking but I felt like they covered the sky. I could hear the buzzing from inside of my car over the sound of my car engine. I sat in my car for what felt like a long period of time, waiting for the sky to clear of bees. I thought through all of the possible scenarios and all the things that could go wrong.

Once I worked up the courage to go outside, I immediately realized just loading the car could be a problem. I saw that the nuc was sealed and no bees could exit or enter the nuc. But the nuc itself was covered in bees. So, I waited some time again until I can feel my heart rate slow down and my body became more familiar with the roaring buzzing of the bees. Eventually once I realized the bees weren't going anywhere, I found where there were no bees and where I can grip the nuc and carry it to my car. Once I got in the car I strapped it down. I drove home with all the windows rolled down. Every bump I hit made me nervous. One of the bees climbed over the seats and made their way to passenger door. I remember thinking I have to keep my eyes on the road no matter what and if i get stung, I would just have to take it and just keep driving. I eventually made it home without getting stung. I brought the bee nuc to the location of the bee box and their new home. I set the nuc down and took off the tape holding the door shut. What seemed like 100s of bees raced out of the nuc buzzing past my head and took off to check out their new home.

I don't recommend anyone to do this. But both time and money were short. Had I taken the class prior to getting bees, I may have never gotten them. I may have been too cautious or became concerned about getting myself stung or others. I know myself well enough and knew I just needed to jump into it. I also remember thinking to myself that the price of a bee class was more expensive than the bees itself. Being strapped for cash, I decided I'd rather spend that money on bees and learn as I go.

Once Brian and Mark of Ames Farm realized I have never taken a formal class they invited me out to take their class. This past Saturday on July 22, my wife and I attended our first beekeeping class.

Thank you Ames farm for having us!

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