I am a third-year beekeeper in Northern Vermont. My husband and I own a store in a small town where our customers are more like friends and family. I have one friend in particular who comes in every day, a native Vermonter. He’s a farmer, logger, and a beekeeper. My husband loves honey and we buy honey from this friend.
One day he was in the store and we were talking about bees and I had mentioned to him that I would like a hive at my house. His response was: “ buy some bees and I’ll help you.” He made it sound so easy and simple! That is what started me on my beekeeping journey. He brought in books for me to read, he would then answer any questions I had. I went online and ordered everything I thought I might need for myself and the bees.
Picking Up My NUC
I ordered my NUC in February and impatiently waited until Memorial Day weekend to pick it up. The day I could pick up my NUC, I was so excited! I went by myself in my Subaru Outback. Drove into the field to pick up the NUC and saw others there with bee suits on, trucks with the tailgates down. I gave my name and was told to walk over to another area in the field with my paperwork to get my NUC.
I still didn’t know what I was getting myself into as I walked over to the older gentleman in a bee suit who was in charge of the NUC’s and handed him my paperwork. Bees were flying here and there, I didn’t think anything of it. The gentleman in the bee suit looked at my paperwork and looked at me. He asked if I had a bee suit with me, I said “no”. He asked where my truck was, I said “my car is over there” and pointed to it on the other side of the field. He took a moment and looked at me and then my car. Without a word, he picked up my NUC, added more duct tape to the sides. I said thank you and went to pick up the NUC.
I could hear the bees inside and I was so excited! My bees! The gentleman stopped me before I could pick it up and said: “ let me bring it to your car for you.” I thought what a nice guy, as we were walking to the car the bees were still flying around, and then it dawned on me…. what if some of my bees get out while I’m driving home? I read books, talked to beekeepers, but I forgot to ask how to bring a NUC home. I asked the gentleman who was carrying the NUC and he said: “oh a couple might get out, you’ll be fine.”
Bringing Home the Bees
Now I realized why people brought trucks and had bee suits on! The gentleman put the NUC in the hatchback of my car. I got in and headed home. The hour drive was the longest hour. As soon as I hit the first bump on the dirt road the bees buzzed loudly. I noticed the first bee to flying around the car about five minutes later. By the time I got to my house, I had about 20 bees buzzing around inside the car. I never got stung, but I was happy to be home and quickly got out of the car.
I hurried inside the house, suited up for the first time, and brought the bees to their new home. It was getting dark by this time. I opened the front of the NUC and watched the first couple bees poke their heads out. My bees, as I now referred to them. I was acting like a first time, overprotective mom with them.
HoI hoped they would be ok for the night in that cardboard NUC. The weather didn’t say rain in the forecast, but what if it rained and the cardboard got wet and it leaked inside and the bees got wet? What if it was too hot in the cardboard NUC? I rechecked the electric fence to make sure it was on. I worried about them all night. In the morning I walked out to check on them and saw for the first time: orientation flights.