Anyone who considers themselves a homesteader, or farmer, or has anything to do with creatures that have a mind of their own, will know that things don’t always go as you would like. Life can be a bit of a roller-coaster at times, with great highs that suddenly take a turn and drop to the lowest low, making your stomach jump into your throat, and your heart beat like a butterfly’s wings.
Yesterday was one of those roller-coaster moments.
We have one beehive that is doing extraordinarily well. So well, in fact, that I’d planned on splitting it to make two hives. Saturday evening, I went to “my bee guy”, Todd at Dancing Bee Apiary, to purchase a new Top Bar Hive. A TBH has been my dream since I began beekeeping, but upon Todd’s advice I decided to start with a Langstroth hive until I got the hang of beekeeping. While picking up my hive, we discussed all the possible ways of splitting my current Langstroth hive, in to the new TBH. I was giddy with excitement!
Skip forward to Sunday morning. Mothers Day. It’s been my Mothers Day tradition to go horseback riding for 3 years running now. A few hours spent enjoying good company, the smells of nature, horse sweat and warm leather… it makes my spirit sing just thinking about it. It was a picturesque morning. However, by being away for those few hours, I wasn’t doing work that needed to be done at the house, for example, splitting my hive.
As we arrived home from our ride, and let the horses have a “nutrition” break before my friends and their horses headed back home, I gave my girlfriends a tour of our farm. As we stood admiring the sweet piggies, in all their natural glory, I hear Farmer B yell from the house “Marie, the honeybees are swarming!”.
Thinking this was some kind of secret code we shared, my lovely friends were slightly confused, I think, when I cursed loudly. (Not very Godly, or feminine of me, I know.) But this couldn’t be happening. It just couldn’t!
I ran to the house, with the wheels of my mind spinning wildly as I tried to figure out how to stop them. But really, how do you stop tens of thousands of bees from flying away? Had they collected on a branch, that would have been a different story. But no. I arrived just in time to watch them fly away across the field like a cloud of buzzing dust.
I was a little crushed as I stood there, looking at my brand-spanking new, deluxe TBH. Empty. My current hive was still a-buzz though, so trying to be optimistic, I took this as a good sign.
I think only a fellow beekeeper could understand that feeling of helplessness. If only I hadn’t been out gallivanting all across Gods green acres, maybe I could have prevented this?
We opened the Langstroth hive later in the afternoon to see what was left, and thank heavens for small mercies, because I still have a very full hive. So the silver lining is that I didn’t lose all my bees, but my beautiful new TBH remains empty.
P.S. After some consideration, I’ve decided that the mental benefits of my long, rejuvenating ride outweighed the set-back of my bees swarming.