So this started with Eric, of course. He's the daredevil in the family. I've lived nearly 43 years happily mostly avoiding bees together with pretty much every other insect. I'm not nervous about bees specifically; I've only ever been stung once and I don't remember it hurting all that much. Plus, I know it was my own fault to an extent. I scratched an itch without looking and it happened to be caused by a bee walking up my arm, which of course thought I was attacking. Reasonable.
Eric, while he hasn't got my aversion to insects in general, has been scared of bees since he was a kid and stung repeatedly when a bumblebee hive funneled its way into his bedroom. And he hates being scared of anything. So it occurred to him that a good way to get over the fear would be to own bees. That's my Eric.
He did a little reading, and what he read convinced me too. Did you know that there's a honeybee shortage in the world these days? Apparently, in China the bee population has been so decimated that humans are being employed - at a pittance, of course - to hand-pollinate the farms with little paintbrushes. And the honeybee populations here in the states are dangerously low too. Whole Foods released a picture of what its produce section would look like sans bees. It wasn't pretty. It was pretty empty, in fact.
The upshot is that we as a species, as a world, need bees.
Add to that the more selfish idea that we could have our own fresh, natural honey to eat, with which to bake, to sell, and to make our soaps and other honey-laden products. And on top of that, there's the beeswax, perfect for our lip balms and candles. And mead, since we both know Eric would be making mead from some of it.
The next thing I knew, he'd signed up for the Northeast NJ Beekeeper's Association, went to visit hives with a local beekeeper, and bought a book on beekeeping. And nearly immediately after that, we both owned beekeeping gear.
How cute am I?
I've already used the gear too. Check me out holding a frame full of bees!
I rock, I tell ya.
In addition to gear, Eric bought all the bits an pieces to put together a hive. He put it all together, I primed and painted, and then we brainstormed so I could have some fun with it. It wasn't hard to settle on a Winnie the Pooh theme. So I painted some more.
We're hoping to still get some this season, though it's late in the year. If we do, the bees will have to be left to produce whatever honey they can for their own survival, and we'll have to feed them over the winter. We've already got the food for 'em. Now we're just waiting for a viable "nuc" (nucleus hive of bees) to be ready for the move to our hive!
Fingers crossed that we get 'em soon. And then? We get a kid-sized suit for the nephews & kids' friends to come learn about bees!