Thursday, March 19, 2009
Merriam-Webster defines a beekeeper as a person who raises bees.This just goes to show you that the people who write dictionaries have never been beekeepers.
Beekeeping has nothing to do with raising bees. Beekeeping is trying to convince several thousand insects to return to your hive at the end of each day as opposed to finding a hole in a tree to call home. These ungrateful little buggers care little that you have spent the kids' inheritance on brood chambers, bottom boards, telescoping covers, frames with special wax foundations, sugar water feeders, and honey supers; or that you have spent untold hours assembling and painting the hive, and then finding the optimal location for placing said hive, aligning it with the rising sun as called for in the thousands of books that have been written on the subject.
Bees do not appreciate the fact that you are concerned about their health, treating them for Varroa mites and hive beetles and worrying endlessly that they may succumb to the dreaded American foulbrood.
You may be wondering why I have not spoken of the presumed goal of beekeepers - that is, to extract fresh, raw honey, the bees' golden reward of the doting beekeeper. That is because savvy, experienced beekeepers buy their honey at the supermarket like everyone else.
Shirley thinks I need a hobby. So now I am a beekeeper. Actually I was a beekeeper last year too...for about three weeks. After three weeks, I was just a guy with an empty hive. Empty, except for a million ants. I started off with bees, but they left. Gone. No honey, no bees, just ants. But a hobby is supposed to be something that you live for, something that you are passionate about, right?
Today I made a trip to Sacramento to buy stuff to entice the bees to stick around this year. I will not be spending my time playing golf or fishing or swimming or skiing. No, I will be using my time assembling frames and hive boxes and painting everything so that these cheesy pine boxes will not completely rot after sitting outside for a year. Ah...hobbies.