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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Post # 61: Still trying to Buy Bees

It is now January, and I’ve just learned that I have to wait until April to get my package of bees!  I’m practicing patience, and starting my journey into bee knowledge.

Almost immediately after clicking the “order” button at RWeaver, I bought some books, found some online Beekeeper Forums, and started doing the research.  Almost everyone suggests you start with two hives.  That way, if one hive gets weak, you can call on the resources of the second hive to help rescue the weak one.

OK.  I needed to change my order.  So, I waited until the following Monday.  Mondays are the best time to talk to the RWeaver Lady.  When Monday rolled around, I called the RWeaver Lady.  I asked if I could change my order from one package to two packages.  She agreed that two packages would be better.  She advised that I ignore the invoice she was sending, and she would send out a new invoice.

More reading, more opinions about the best way to start a hive.

Another term I had never heard of emerged from the pages: “Nucs.”  Short for Nucleus. 

A Nuc is like half of a hive.  Instead of the standard ten frames of comb filled with 50,000 bees or so, it has five frames, filled with 20,000 bees or so.  The frames already have comb built on them.  The queen is already working and laying eggs, the bees have already stored honey and pollen.  It is a working mini-hive.

Another Monday phone call.  The RWeaver lady knows my name by now.  I’m pretty sure she just rolls her eyes and digs out a new order-form every time she sees my phone number.  I asked about Packages versus Nucs, and what she thought.

The advantage, of course, is that the bees in nucs don’t have to do as much work to get established, and so they have a better chance of “Surviving the Winter.”

It seems that the number one concern for the beekeeper is to help their hive survive the winter.  Winter is hard on the bees and seems to be pretty hard on the beekeeper, too.  I mean, it is January, I don’t even have any bees yet, and I’m already worried about getting my bees through next winter.  I’ll get gray hair worrying about these bees and the next winter.

Oh yeah.  My hair is already gray.

“Please change my order from two packages to two Nucs.”  She again advised me to “ignore the invoice that she just sent …”

“… and you’ll send out a new one” I finished for her.

Well.  The bees have been ordered.  It is still January, and April seems like forever getting here.  I didn’t call the RWeaver lady anymore.  I admit that I sent her an email in March, letting her know that I’d be willing to pick up my nucs if they happened to be available sooner.  She politely let me know she would keep that in mind.  Of course, we both knew that wasn’t really going to happen.

During this long wait, I kept occupied by ordering woodenware and tools and bee-related gadgets right and left. 

Did I mention we’re doing this because Wife wanted bees for her garden?  It’s not about me.  No, really.  It’s not. 

It’s for Wife.