I held 10,000 honey bees between my hands. 10,000 little lives. 10,000 little stingers. The thought of opening the box was terrifying. I had visions of swarms of bees quickly overtaking my body, stinging me relentlessly. It’s amazing how easily your imagination can take over and leave no room for reasonable thoughts.
We had watched the videos on how to install honey bees into a hive. We had asked questions when we picked them up. We had read every page in every bee book that explained how to get 10,000 bees from a small box to a hive without dying in the process. That didn’t make me any more sure of myself as I took the plunge.
The day before we installed the bees, we attempted to put together the hive with absolutely no instructions on how to do so. We used our collective imagination to guess at what each piece was used for, and put the whole thing together like a puzzle, assuming if it fit, it was meant to be. We very quickly realized that we weren’t prepared for this, and putting the hive together the same day the bees arrived was not the best way to go about it.
We didn’t want it to be this way. I didn’t even know we were getting bees until two days before they arrived. I had put my name on a list months ago, and not heard a word about it since. I emailed and called the company several times to find out if we were indeed getting bees but they were met with no response. Then, out of the blue, an email arrived stating our bees would need to be picked up in two days.
I rushed out to buy a hive and all the tools we would need, following the GPS to the address listed on the shop’s website. When I arrived, there was no shop that said anything about bees. I was in a random plaza full of restaurants and banks. Careful scanning of every sign while driving by told me there were no bee supplies here.
I only had half an hour before this mystery store closed so I started stopping into the shops asking if anyone knew where I could buy a bee hive. As you can imagine, this question was met with looks of horror and faces that wondered why this insane redhead had wandered in off the street babbling about beehives. After three shops of this, I finally wandered into one that had an answer.
“Is there a shop somewhere around here that carries bee keeping supplies?”
“Oh yeah, the Verizon store next door.”
“No, I don’t think you heard me correctly, I need to buy a bee hive and a bee suit.”
“Yes.” She said patiently, “The Verizon store next door carries them.”
“Uh…. okay, thanks.”
I wandered out again thinking I wasn’t the only insane person in this plaza, there’s no way there would be honeycomb sitting on shelves amongst cell phones and chargers.
Well, I was wrong. The first half of the store was what you’d expect, then in the back, in a dark corner, was a rickety display of bee supplies and spaceman-looking bee suits hanging from a rack. It was the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in a store. The kind lady running the booth told me what I’d be needing to get started and patiently answered all of my (probably dumb) questions.
I left with a full car and an empty wallet. I wasn’t expecting the hive to come in 35 pieces that had to be assembled and painted. I was starting to wonder how this was possibly going to work out.
We spent the next two days gluing and nailing the pieces together, then I remembered on the day we had to get the bees that I wanted to paint the hive. Off to Home Depot I went. At this point most of the employees know that I’m one of those weirdos that has bizarre hobbies, but the new guy at the paint center wasn’t aware…yet. I picked out some rad colors and asked him to mix them up for outdoor use.
“Oh yeah I can do that, what sort of texture do you need… matte, glossy?”
“Oh, um. I don’t really know…”
“Well, what are you painting?”
Oh, here we go…
“I’m painting a beehive.”
“Yes, for bees to live in.”
“YOU HAVE BEES?!”
“Well, not yet, I’m going to pick them up today but I need to paint their hive first.”
He was muttering incoherently to himself long enough for me to interject-
“I think the glossy will be just fine.”
“Oh yeah! Okay glossy…bees…”
He continued to give me puzzled glances as he was mixing my paint, probably trying to imagine why in the world someone would have bees. At this point I was trying to figure out the same thing. This project was already turning out to be way more intense than I thought, and we didn’t even have the little guys yet.
When I got home, I rushed through the paint job and just barely finished before it was time to drive an hour out into the country to pick up our little honey makers.
The house was located on a hilly road. When I saw the beehives lining the yard I knew we were in the right place. The owner came out to greet us and took us to the barn. I could hear the buzzing before she even opened the door. It was the kind of sound you hear in horror movies, right before the deadly attack. What in the world were we getting ourselves into?
To be continued…
Read part two here: Honey Bees Arrive at ImaginAcres (part two)