At the beginning of the year, I set out some goals for 2012. Arguably the wackiest of the goals was to become a backyard beekeeper.
After a few months of planning, some late nights nailing hive bodies together, a good number of frantic calls to our bee lady, & more than a few moments of pure fear, I can finally report that the bees are in their new hives in my side field.
I had to drive almost two hours to pick up the two nuclear colonies (beekeepers call these "nucs") that I ordered this winter. Once I paid for my bees and some miscellaneous supplies, I was back on the road with 20,000 bees safely contained in two boxes in the back of my hatchback. Let me repeat that: 20,000 bees.
I had been on the road for about half an hour when I saw one stray bee buzzing around in my rearview mirror. I opened the windows and hoped it would blow out, but soon the single bee was three bees and then ten bees and then twenty or so bees. OMFG.
I pulled over on the side of the highway and opened up the trunk and shooed out as many bees as I could using a scarf and a stray umbrella I had in my backseat. Peeking at the nuc boxes, I was able to see where the bees were escaping...
...and tried my best to cover it up with my scarf and some wedge heels that were in the back of my car.
Jaisa texted me right in the middle of this chaotic side-of-the-road-bee-shooing debacle (beebacle?):
Jaisa: i am having the worst morning
Me: i'm on the side of the highway bc the bees are loose in my car
Jaisa: SHUT UP
Jaisa: they broke out?
Caitlin: not all like 20 or 30
Jaisa: oh my GOD
Jaisa: are you ok?
Caitlin: yes driving home with all the windows open and my shirt around my head cornholio style
Caitlin: sorry to one up your bad morning
Having updated Jaisa on my situation, there wasn't much else to do besides call Jesse and whine for a few minutes. And then get back in the car and drive myself and my little buzzing charges home.
|Bee on the car ceiling...
With another hour left to go, I cranked up the AC and opened all of my windows to hopefully blow back any bees approaching me.
As mentioned to Jaisa, I also improvised some face protection for the remainder of my ride. One of my best friends is getting married this weekend and I'm in the wedding party. Please bees, I begged, please don't sting me in the face.
(At this point, I was really driving like a lunatic. My brother pointed out that if I had been pulled over, it could have been like that scene in Tommy Boy. "Bees! Bees in the car! Save yourself!")
Miraculously, I made it home safely (there was a close call with a bee climbing up my ankle while I was driving 90 mph down the highway. I panicked and killed it. I know. Great way to start off the bee/human relations for our hive). I drove like a maniac through my front lawn and left my car open so the loose bees could disperse.
Once the bees and I had calmed down, I moved them out to their permanent home in our side field. Here I am in the process of moving them, frame by frame, from the nuc boxes into their new hives. For the record, Uggs, a Bates sweatshirt, and three layers of pants aren't the recommended beekeeping suit. My sweet white jumpsuit just hadn't arrived yet.
And here we are... two nucs, two hives... and only two stings.
Welcome home, ladies! Stay out of my car and stay homey!