My relationship with honey was initially culinary, like that of the vast majority of people. However, the need to make my journeys profitable (from my usual home to my family’s land is about 65 km away) made me fond of helping in the production of this natural product. Because in beekeeping what it is about is to collaborate and help the bees to carry out this laborious task.
Dedicating yourself to beekeeping is only available to those who have a great background in dealing with bees and many years of experience. For hobbyists like me, I would recommend that you take it as a hobby with great responsibility (because you are in charge of living beings). This “hobby” can serve as a means to provide you with a natural food with great health benefits and a routine with high anti-stress doses. Because our daily problems are overshadowed by observing the enormous group sacrifice that these little insects make every day.
In this first post, I want to emphasize that initiation to beekeeping requires an investment “yes” or “yes”, especially in material and equipment. Nobody would think of wearing shorts and flip-flops … well … nobody with two fingers in the forehead. In addition, you must have a location to start your apiary and that is allowed by the competent Administrations (CCAA, Town Halls). The one that can learn through face-to-face or online courses for beekeepers, the better.
My first foray into beekeeping
Before finishing this introduction, I want to tell you about my first experience and initiation in beekeeping. Just before the “Great Confinement”, I had the idea to buy a swarm attractant and impregnate it in four hives that were abandoned and half broken. I bought a couple of frames per hive and wax for each of them. I glued the wax to the frames “a la burro”, heating the wax in my kitchen.
First mistake: Not being able to go check the traps. After more than two months of confinement, upon arrival I found that there was movement in my apiaries (what a joy).
Second mistake: At first having little hope (I had barely prepared myself) I had no suit, nor tools to manipulate the apiaries (smoker). I had to delay my inspection of the hives for two more weeks.
Third mistake: The swarms were mostly formed on the walls of the hives (when the bees tried to stretch the wax, it ended up detaching from the wires). The largest swarm was in a ball on the ground.
Fourth mistake: “If you have no fucking idea, don’t touch.” My nervousness, when seeing the panorama, made me put my hand “without rhyme or reason.” I was trying to put them in better apiaries by moving them up and down … come on, a massacre. I ended up taking only two swarms forward, but very depleted.
Fifth mistake: The summer months have arrived (July-August) and the flowering in Gacía is almost nil. Being so weakened I decided on artificial feeding and, I thought I was going to put a lot of pollen and sugary additives … and “fly”, I began to see “put” again, as well as the daily visits of some unwanted guests .
My excessive artificial feeding and the great weakness of the two swarms caused an increase in the visits of wasps, provoking a fracticidal fight. First, the wasps targeted the weaker swarm and ripped it apart. When I arrived and opened the hive I found dozens of dead bees and only two wasps. I quickly covered the hive, leaving about 30 wasps inside feeding on the remains. My unease and anger made me rejoice at the future death of these thirty visitors, “thinking of their slow death”, but the garrison of the imperialist wasps was larger than I thought and, the next day, I found what I could. be the last battle. Lots of wasps flying over the sting of my last hive and dozens of defending bees at the entrance. The wasps entered the “kamikaze” style into the hive, breaking the first line of defense but, at the same time, I saw how they pushed it out, pecks, bites … At that moment I decided to join them, while the poor bees “got on two legs” to be able to cover the entrance to the gate. Me, meanwhile, I was out slapping from one side to the other. There was no end, even with the sunset the arrivals of the visitors did not stop.
Finally I left, with hardly any visibility and leaving a large remnant of yellow bodies on the way. The plan I orchestrated (tossing and turning in bed and not being able to sleep after what I experienced and with the odd nudge of my “Nadi”) was to get up early and change the location of my hive. But when I arrived with the lights of dawn there was no longer a swarm to change. The stress suffered the day before made them flee and leave their home.
I felt useless, and it even made me feel like a bad person, but along with this disappointment a great affection for these insects awoke in me. The fight of the bees for the good of the group shows that they sacrifice themselves to the end and that the problem is the bad beekeepers (like me). I was awakened by a desire to surrender and start a new preparation, but without living beings suffering from my incompetence.