Monday, January 10, 2011

Always with the options

It's only been two years and finally I'm making real marked Can't Go Back On It Now progress in the beekeeping department.

Let's look at my progress because that is my favorite hobby - LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!

Obviously. Just look at this blog.

Anyway, so, two months ago my hive looked like this:

I'm sorry, lady, but that looks a lot like firewood to me.
And then, a month ago it looked like this:

Stop taking pictures with the camera on your phone.
And then, two weeks ago and still to this day, it looks like this:

I feel like moving in there right now and putting magnets on the fridge.

And then do you know what I did? Yeah, I totally blanked on actually ordering the bees and queen.

I was out visiting a friend in the mountains yesterday and she was all, "So when are you getting your bees?" and I was all, "What?"

And then realized, in sort of a mental frenzy, that while I had certainly done every other little thing in the process of becoming the neighborhood bee psycho, I had actually neglected to order bees.

Wow. This is going to go well.

So now, after a morning of brief Googling, an audible at the line and an extremely pleasant and encouraging call to a local bee yard, I've now ordered my bees and, in keeping my promise to educate you as to what the hell I'm talking about with this new hobby of mine, let me explain.

See, there are a lot of steps in this beekeeping process. Firstly, one must decide that one wants a lot of stinging insects in one's backyard and within pointy range of one's allergic husband. After that, and after stockpiling Epi pens throughout the property, one must procure the hive bits (check!), build the hive (check!), paint the hive (check!), source the permit info if one is being law-abiding for once in their god damned lives (check!) and find a place in the yard for the hive (check!).

Oh. And one must get bees in order to have a beehive that produces honey. Right.

So, once again, there are all these options.


I like simplicity, friends. I like, "Here is our one model of dishwasher, ma'am, take it or leave it. Oh, and you won't be needing that hand-truck." (I love hand-trucks. I feel so powerful and efficient wheeling heavy appliances around on them. I take one everywhere.)(Not really.)

And with the bees, there are again so many options, none of which include the use of a hand-truck, but all of which involve bringing thousands of pointy bugs onto one's property en mass and, in my case, doing so with limited experience for managing such a scenario.

Reassuring isn't it? Bubba thinks so.

So the options I was mulling, which is the excuse I'm going to use for why it's taken me so long to get my act together, were:

Option 1: Order a package of bees and a marked queen from somewhere in the Internet World to have shipped to my local post office where the vibrating package could scare the crap out of our local civil servants. (Hmmm...wouldn't it be better to get them nearby?)

Option 2: Find a local source for bees and a marked queen and then figure out how to get them to my house. (Hmmm...that sounds like a lot of mucking about.)

Option 3: Take a split off of one of the hives at work and figure out how to get the split to my house (I imagine "Hauling open-air in a speeding Prius" is not a recommended transportation method) and then figure out how to get a queen and then install the queen without getting her killed. (Hmmm...that sounds vaguely death-defying.)

Option 4: Capture a swarm. (Hmmm...that sounds actually death-defying.)

In the end I went with Option 2 thanks to a Google search for "package bees california" that landed me on a local site and in touch with a lovely gal who, in the friendliest of manners, arranged to exchange my credit card number for 4,000 of their local bees and a marked queen to be delivered to my door at the beginning of April.

And the options were extremely limited at that point, which I loved.

How many packages do you want? One.
When do you want it to show up - How about April 7th? OK.

Bless their hearts, that was simple.

Oh, and there will be lengthy instructions for all steps between Receiving Your Bees to Having a Happy Hive included with the bees, so I think I'm all set.

Now, though, I must set this rig up in the backyard and call over the local authorities to check it out for the purposes of stealing $150 of my hard earned money providing a permit sometime before April.

Sadly, there are a LOT of options for that little activity. Yay.


  1. You're lucky you didn't get the option of Italian bees (docile but picky) or Russian bees (hardy but aggressive)! Try having them mailed to your house just once. It was QUITE the experience with the post office. It was worth it just for the hysterics!

  2. You *might* want to check if Bubba's life insurance covers "death by bees because of wife" and *maybe* check what the involuntary manslaughter laws are in your state.

    While you're working on permits of course.

    YOu can never be too prepared. Right?? ;)

  3. Wow. You have to have a permit? That's just wrong. Wrong-o. I definitely think you made the best choice. Can't wait to see your little hive grow!

  4. i can't wait to see what happens to your hive-ing when little "finnys" are running around your yard.....just note, the hive location is probably where you would put a swingset...

  5. Congrats on getting bees! I got some for the first time last year. I love them. If you're curious what odd difficulties I encountered, check out my sporadic blog:

  6. Wait--your place of employment also has BEE HIVES? Now I really want to work there.

  7. Jenny - OH! I did though! Well, in the sense that I asked if they were Italian bees and the woman said that, Yes, that's all they produce.

    Russian bees are supposed to be SUPER hardy overwinterers, but yeah, too pingy for my tastes. I like the mellow Italians. :)

    Sara - I feel like doing that kind of research would then make me liable for anything that occurred, accident wise. I don't want an involuntary charge to go all premeditated on me!

    Meanwhile, he will have one million Epi pens scattered about, so I imagine he'll be OK.

    Anna - Yes. Annoying. And it differs wildly from county to county, so some beekeepy friends of mine in, say, San Mateo County (just north a bit), have ZERO restrictions or requirements for permits.

    You can have as many or as few or put them wherever the fuck you want and no one can say boo.

    Me? I have to pay $150 and have some stupid inspector out to make sure the ONE hive is adequately far from the property line and blah blah LAME.

    Whatever. Soon I will have my bees and that will be cool :)

    TR - Just saying *Little Finnys* scares the crap out of me. And the fact that I'd prefer 4,000 Little Finnys with stingers on their butts to one soft pink human Finny should probably scare all of you.

    Good call on the hive location. That's a great way to describe where I have decided to put the hive!

    Anon - Thanks for the referral - I'll be watching you.

    Jen - YES!

    We have four and YOU KNOW the hive I work on produced the most honey last fall. WOO!

    I'm not competitive at all. Or petty.

    Lera - Naughty!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.