— Guest post by The Queen Bee
I think Gaston said, “You know the bees are coming next week right?” at least five times a day, every day for the last week.
Getting ready for their arrival is a cross between your in laws coming to visit and your kids coming home to visit from university – There is a whole lot of prep to be done, you’re anxious because everything has to be super perfect, and you are making yourself mad with all the little details, but at the same time you are incredibly excited to see your baby come home and want make sure to have all their favourite fixins ready and that their room is warm and welcoming.
Same goes for our bee family expansion. Our first two colonies survived the winter and are strengthening, and we are preparing for the arrival of 4 new nucs (mini bee colonies).
Although not quite comparable to the supplies needed for a newborn, bees give them a run for their money.
We rented a U-Haul to bring all the pallets (hive base), hive boxes, bottom boards, inner and outer covers, frames, honey supers (where the magic happens), feeders, excluders, bee escapes and more.
Just getting the stuff to the cottage was a labour of love.
Next was the back-breaking work of setting up the pallets to make sure our bees were high and mighty – away from pests and water. We positioned, re-positioned, stacked, re-stacked, and then leveled them off… Then moved them around again.
This year, because we had to buy so many supplies, we decided to be ‘clever’ and buy them unassembled and save some money by assembling, priming, and painting them ourselves. I found out that ‘clever’ meant pimping me out as child labour to work out in the hot sun getting all the boxes ready for the arrival.
Step 1: Prime and paint.
Step 2: Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum
Step 3: Assemble boxes
After a full day of paining and priming (self tanning) in the sun, I realized on day two, that day one was the easy part. The first set of boxes we put together were well cut and fit together easily. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Fitting these new boxes together was not unlike trying to fit myself into a bikini at the beginning of summer. Nothing seems to fit, stuff is sticking out where it shouldn’t be, what you tuck in pops out somewhere else and in the end, you just want to smash it on the floor and walk away.
It was like Swedish IKEA Furniture torture, where you felt like the pieces… juuuust… miiiight… fit and then you let your breath out and everything falls apart.
However, persistence prevailed, and after a mini tantrum and a long Time Out, we were ready to welcome our new family.