A week and a half ago we got our first pets! 25,000 bees!
When Steve came up with the idea to raise bees, I was a little bit nervous, scared, and not that excited about it. But, Steve got in a conversation with a Fed Ex guy at work who mentioned he has four hives in his backyard and invited us over to take a look to see what we'd be getting into. The hives were sitting on his back patio, just a few feet from their patio chairs where people hang out! I couldn't believe it! We walked up near the hives and the bees didn't care about us all as long as we didn't go in their "fly zone". The Fed ex guy and his wife extracted a ton of honey recently and gave us some to sample. It was seriously the best honey I've ever tasted and it was even cooler knowing that it came from these very bees!
Anyway, the couple is super into bees and their excitement really rubbed off on us. They made us a list of everything we'd need and Steve went online in search of supplies. In a few days, we had everything and the bee boxes were built! The Fed Ex guy had two extra hives that he needed to get rid of (due to his small space), so he sold one of his established colonies to us..queen and all! They arrived on a Saturday morning, all donned veils, and transferred the frames full of bees and full of honey to our boxes. It took about 10 minutes in all! (I watched all of this from the safety of the kitchen window :)
After they were done I ventured out and the bees were rushing all around, but I didn't get too close. They seemed to be liking their new home with so many trees and flowers around to keep them busy. After they settled down a bit, I put on the veil and got close for a picture. This is as close as I would get and Steve thought it was pretty funny, but I thought I was pretty damn close!!! The couple who gave us the bees told us that bees are more attracted to dark colors so you should wear white. I remembered this key tip and was sure to wear a long sleeve white shirt. But, you can also see I am wearing flip flops which shows just how brave I really am :)
The next evening, I got super close without a veil to get some shots of the bee box up close since Steve did such a great job putting it all together. It's actually really neat looking. The bees are pretty mellow in the evening so I wasn't afraid. It is actually fun sitting there and watching the bees bring back the pollen. They carry pollen sacks on their hind legs and as they fly in that bottom slit you can see the sacks and it makes them sorta waddle when they walk into the hive.
We are hoping in September to have some honey to extract! That is the most exciting part about all of this! The other benefit is that the bees will work hard to pollenate all of our fruit trees and garden so that we get better quality and quantity fruit! Gotta love nature!