Hey guys, it’s time to update you about my beekeeping plans again! So much has happened since I last wrote about the bees. Not only has nature exploded with fragrances, colour and sounds, but I am getting closer and closer to realizing that small dream of me. In other words, I am only one step away from getting my own bee colony!
But let’s begin where I left off last time: I did in fact apply for the beekeeping association here in Cologne, which is actually 136 years old. As everything was rather easy and the chairman was really nice, I felt welcomed from the start. So, I went to my first meeting, which was actually a lecture for alternative beekeeping. Maybe when I’m settled in my job as a beekeeper I’ll tell you something about it if you’re interested!
Anyway, I was quite overwhelmed from all this information going way too far for me. Here I was, wanting to learn something about traditional beekeeping, and was already confronted with how to do things differently. Understandably, I was, what is the right word? Disappointed?
However, I didn’t lose faith and went to my second meeting a month later. Again I was sitting in this dark wood-panelled room in a brewery pub, surrounded by mostly old-ish men and a few women. Tell you what, I felt like a canary amidst a murder of crows. But at the end of the meeting I got a bit bold (maybe it was the beer), and I raised my hand. And I asked if someone could tutor me in becoming a beekeeper.
Side note: You usually don’t start beekeeping on your own. People will tell you to join the association, which has a lot of advantages: First of all, you’re connected. So you get help whenever you have problems. Then you’re usually insured through the association etc. etc. And you can use their honey extractor. Furthermore, they tell you to take a beekeeping course. But we’ll come to that.
I am still quite proud of me that I spoke up and asked for help. Because right after the meeting I had four men standing around me, offering their services. I was so happy! I found a nice guy who lives nearby, and we exchanged numbers.
Springtime = Beetime
Since we were still pretty much in the middle of winter, nothing happened in the meantime. Then, at the beginning of April, everything seemed to happen at once. My tutor and I arranged a meeting at his place, so he could show me his bees and how he worked. That meant I would be in contact with bees for the first time! And what can I say? I felt both utterly excited/scared shitless/super curious. I helped him install the honey super because his bees were already pretty busy, and I held a hive frame full of bees. They were all over my hand! What a weird feeling.
Afterwards, I got home even more excited. I wanted to do this! So it was a good thing my beekeeping course would start on Saturday this week. I sat in an old classroom with like-minded people and we learned all about the basics: How the bee population works, how important bees are, how to treat the Varroa mite, which beehive systems there were…And let me tell you: the more I learned, the more those little creatures impressed me.
That was last about a week and a half ago. Then last Thursday, my dad and I built a structure to support beehives (as you can see above). This way, they don’t get moist from the ground and you can work better with them. Then the previous Saturday, I grabbed all my savings and went to the beekeeper’s shop again. And I really went on a shopping spree. I got it all!
So that’s where I am today: Every morning I look out of my bedroom window and see my two beehives sitting proudly on our self-built structure. Now I just need my colony!