Saturday, February 22, 2014

The bees were back

Another post from quite some time ago!
In 2007 we started our journey into the frustrating world of bee keeping.  At that time we relied on people telling us when they found swarms of Japanese honey bees and we would go and collect them, bring them home and put them into our homemade boxes and hope they stayed.  We tried to think about the perfect place to put the hives so the bees would feel at home.  Unfortunately they would always stay for a bit, but not more than a year - eating all their honey before they took off for better pastures.
A few years ago my husband bought two new boxes which were designed to attract the bees to them, in theory meaning we wouldn't need to go and actually catch the bees and bring them back.  Yet again we sought out the perfect locations, bought special lilies to help attract the bees and waited and waited and waited a bit more.  Not much luck...  So the boxes were thrown into the garage a couple of years ago when life got out of control and we figured eventually we would get around to getting them out in the perfect location again.
Roll around to last year.... the bees came back... in the garage... where we dumped the boxes a couple of years ago. There were many debates about what to do - I was particularly keen to get them moved so that we could get in and out of the car without worrying about how many bees were going to join us for a drive.  It was particularly important to me that they were moved because we had my brother, sister-in-law and 1 year old niece staying..... I didn't really feel like having to take them to the emergency room if the bees decided to swarm while we were getting into the car.
My husband was just so happy that they were back that he was determined to let them be and refused to try and move them.  They got very active during the day, but as my husband was at work most days he never saw it.  They never stung us, but it did get a bit frustrating having to try and reassure any visitors who came to the house that they were our pets and therefore perfectly safe.
In the end they made quite a lot of honey, but just before we were about to harvest some of it they were invaded by bugs, ate most of their own honey and then ran away.  At least it solved the problem of having to move them.   Now if I could just get my husband to move the box out of the garage we may not have to go through the whole thing again this spring!

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