Bees, I love my bees.  I’m going to stray from my favourite topic of horses for this blog.  The truth is, I have many passions. The bank account might tell you I have too many!!

I love bees.  However, this wasn’t always the case.  In fact, until we had some arrive in our front garden en masse 9 years ago, I really hadn’t given them much thought.  Bees are now an important part of my property, so I feel they deserve a place on my blog.  I will start my story at the beginning, and write in installments  until I get to the current day.

Bee Blog #1

One day my daughter and I had some bonding time together in the workshop  building a wooden bird house.  We used a ladder and put it about 3 meters up the palm tree in the front garden of our Rockingham home.  We watched it daily to see what birds might come and use it.  There was a Galah that tried to make the hole bigger, but she gave up. The next thing we knew it was buzzing with a lot of bees.

I didn’t know anything about bees, but I knew I wanted them relocated, not destroyed. The only quote I could get at the time was $160 for removal.  No chance I was paying that!  So Julien (my husband) said I should keep them and do beekeeping.  Seriously?  Why?  I didn’t even like honey.

Now don’t worry, I did get some advice on how to do things.  I spoke to Rob the Bee Man at Symonds Seeds in Osborne Park, who is very passionate about bees and getting new bee keepers started.  He was a wealth of information and was always just a phone call away if I needed to say “OMG what do I do now!”.  This happened several times.

So the journey began.  My most vivid memory was taking down this ridiculously heavy box.  Julien and I used a lot of duct tape to cover the hole and the plan was that no bees would come out.   The prospect of me dropping the whole thing is still clear in my mind.  Julien was also up another ladder, cutting the wire which was attaching the box securely to the tree.  I remember holding the weight, balancing it on the ladder, and shouting for Julien to get off his ladder to come and help me.  “NOW!”  I recall thinking my back surgeon, who only fixed me up a few months prior, would not have approved.

When we next had to attend to the box, we had our new bee suits on and were ready for action.  We were so enthusiastic about getting into the hive we forgot to light the smoker.  Oh my!  Let me assure you I have never ever made that mistake again.

My memory is of running across the lawn, across the road (I’m sure I didn’t look for cars) and into the park.  There were large sheoak  trees with branches down to the ground and I was rubbing myself all over them (a practice my neighbours got used to watching).  I ran to the creek  (ok it was a drainage ditch) and was about to dive in but then realised I had lost most of my followers.

By this time I had several in my mask so I threw the mask off.  Again, I have never repeated this mistake either.  4 bees in the mask is better than no mask and 20 bees coming for you.  I don’t remember what happened to Julien, every man for himself in those situations.

Somehow we both made it back into the house to compare our stings.  I think that was the last time Julien came into the hives with me.  I’m a slow learner so I carried on and 9 years later I now have 8 bee hives.

The journey has been amazing and I have learnt so much, making some amazing mistakes and triumphs along the way.

Stick around for the next bee-log and I’ll comb my memory for more sweet tales of honey and bees in Serpentine………