Several years ago we were able to buy land not too far from where we lived. Of course we immediately started planning our new life: where the house would be built, where the orchard and veggies would go, and so on (nothing is where we originally planned, thankfully).
Wandering around the treeline (half pasture, half woods) trying to identify some of the trees, I chanced to notice bees. I’d always had a vague interest, not to “save the bees” or “save the world” but because, come the zombie apocalypse, we might be closer to survival. We could eat honey, have medicine, candles, and other wax-based products. Or, more specifically, we are working towards self-sufficiency on our homestead.
Anyway, watching the bees over the next few months I decided I definitely wanted to keep them - how difficult could it be? - and started looking around for a suitable location for a bee yard. Of course, a tornado then blew in just before we poured the foundation for our home, and took out some of our largest trees, including the bee tree. I was convinced the bees had to still be somewhere on our land, probably not to far from where they originally were. So I bought a Top Bar Hive nuc (8 bars), scented it with Lemon Grass Oil (LGO), and placed it about chest height in a Bois D’arc. That’s much lower than the 8-10 feet people advise.
Imagine my surprised delight when, within a week, a swarm had moved in. My American husband was less thrilled. How did I know these were not Africanised bees? Why didn’t I just buy them from somewhere? Of course, coming from Africa, I was less fussed, but waited until I had a beesuit before messing with them (does anyone know how to get in and out of a beesuit gracefully?). They transferred easily into their new home and have been well-behaved tenants ever since.
And that’s how it all started. I’m still catching swarms in the same place.
How did you start?