Jayden has been dreaming about having a beehive for over a year now. At first, I thought his interest in bees will diminish with time, but I was wrong. All winter long, he kept asking about when we’ll get bees. He counted the months, then the weeks, and then the days left. He was sad when the date kept moving forward, due to the cold spring weather we had this year.
Then, a few days ago, the local beekeeper we arranged to buy bees from let us know they were ready for pickup. Jayden was ecstatic! He jumped up and down a dozen times, and then counted the hours till the evening came. His enthusiasm was so contagious, his sister, Cinder, decided to join us. Here is a picture of them at the nuc yard (with bee hats / suits way too large for their size, but they didn’t mind it):
It was a cold evening, and the beekeeper dropped the nuc box by mistake. Fortunately, he was able to put it back together, but not before a bunch of bees came out and landed on him and on Jayden. He was not scared, and as a reward, he got to see the queen. A bee did get under his clothes and he told me he felt it crawling up on his back, but we were able to get it out without him getting stung. Here is how he described the experience to his Mom, when we got home:
I was nervous on the way home with two kids and over 20,000 bees sharing the same space in the van, but fortunately the vast majority of the bees stayed inside. The few stragglers that came out were mostly interested in windows, trying probably to reach the setting sun.
The following morning he told us he had about three dreams about bees during that night. He spent most of the day watching them fly in and out of the nuc box.
With a bit of help, he was able to hive the nuc today into a fancy ApiMaye hive box. It is a special bee house invented by a Turkish beekeeper. It is made of food grade plastic, and has a very well-thought-out bottom board that allows for pollen collection, cleaning, varroa mite trapping, etc. The entrance can be reduced to only one bee at a time, if desired, and the whole box is very well insulated, for cold weather, but also well ventilated, which can be an issue for wood beehives, both during the summer and winter.
I was surprised to see how confidently he pulled his first frame full of bees and brood out of the nuc. I was quite nervous myself, as I have never done this before, and I didn’t know what to expect. In retrospect, I wish my Dad had been more persistent when I was a kid in teaching me how to overcome my fear of bee stings. The problem during those days was we didn’t have access to any kid sized bee suits, and I was scared to death of being stung. Even today, dressed up from head to toe in a protective suit, I still had a fair amount of fear and anxiety for the first few minutes. Maybe that is what Jayden sensed when he asked me why I was being bossy :-).
Anyway, he was the first to spot the queen, and it was a beautiful one. We were told it was a “mutt”, a cross between Italian, Carniolan and possibly other types of bees. She was quite busy moving around, and we saw a bunch of capped brood, as well as larvae and eggs.
We captured the whole thing on video, and we edited about 6 minutes of it for you below. We hope you enjoy it!
Dad’s P.S. Bees are not scary at all. If you’ve been thinking about trying beekeeping one day, go for it. Learning about bees is fun, educational, and worth the time. But going to the next level, where you try to apply what you learned, and are willing to embrace the challenges and surprises keeping bees brings, is where all the fun is. I hope you’ll find Jayden’s passion for bees contagious!