When we moved into our new home at the very end of March, we figured it would be too late to add some bees into the mix but, hopeful as I am, I reached out to a local apiary just in case.
They’ve simply been missed too much to not try.
I was told about the wait list and how I really should have ordered them last fall and then I was given a glimmer of hope in the form of a possible experiment. I was told about how this local apiary is looking to strengthen its genetics by placing hives on various properties around Northern New Mexico so they can be exposed to different altitudes and ecosystems.
The deal would be that they would place a hive on the property, check on it regularly and maintain it, and we would get the honey at the end of the season. Then, next year, if the hive was strong enough to be spilt, we would get the split.
Pretty cool, right?
So, I got the go-ahead from our Landlady, signed up for a visit and waited for them to set up an appointment to check out the property.
After many emails and texts back and forth about their busy-ness and general overwhelm, I was still hopeful and willing to be patient with the process because the idea of the experiment was super cool and very worthy!
Then, suddenly one morning, there were bees on the property!
Unfortunately, they didn’t belong to the apiary but, instead, to an old friend of our Landlady who had kept his bees on the property in that past and, despite being told otherwise by our Landlady, decided to do it again.
Now, there was multiple challenges with this including my allergy and his placement of the hive, the fact he came onto the property without our permission or knowledge, and the fact that we were waiting for our visit from the apiary and didn’t want to lose our chances at being a part of the experiment.
So, calls were made, and he came to pick up his hives a couple of days later…and apparently angry about it, because (again without any notification) he came to pick them up in the middle of the day…
Which left a ton of bees behind…
Without a queen.
So they all came “home”, with pockets full of pollen, only to find that their home was gone. So they unhappily swarmed onto our top bar hive (smart bees) and we tried everything we could to get find a queen except for calling him back because…well, that didn’t seem like a fun option. I tried Facebook groups and the local apiary and nothing. It was the beginning of summer and every queen in the state was accounted for.
And so we were told they would either disperse and find hives of their own to join or they would simply die.
They gave it a valiant effort for a couple of months. They built some funky comb, they even made a tiny bit of honey. But there was no queen, no brood, and no hope.
So, the last time Kim checked on them, they were all gone, leaving nothing behind but a couple of rugged pieces of comb and few little bee bodies as a reminder of what not to do as a beekeeper.
And in the midst of all this, we never did hear back from the local apiary about the experiment, but the summer was full of battles against weeds and the planting of seeds, so it didn’t weigh heavy on us. There was plenty to do without the keeping of bees, too.
However, next year, I think, will need to be the year we get bees back in our lives.
I miss everything about them…Their fuzzy little bodies and divine wings, the buzz of their busy-ness, the wonder of the comb they build, the hunt for the queen, pollination of everything, and of course, the delicious honey.
Yes, I think that, before the snow flies and I forget about this longing again, it’s time to put in our order for next year.
And hope for better communication and even better results.
It’s time to get bees back in our lives 🙂