I’ve got bees!

Johan and Franz checking if the bees have a queen. The rain and the bees flying around don’t really appear on this photo, but I can tell you they were everywhere… Photo: Sara Jeswani.

“Congratulations, you’ve got bees!”

It was the beginning of July and I was sitting on a boat, far away from Stockholm, when my mobile phone beeped. I stared at the text message for several minutes. Well, I did sign up for that lottery (handing out a few of the “new” bee societies that are created when you divide big ones during summer) at my local beekeeper association’s course earlier this year. But I never win lotteries, so I reckoned nothing would happen.

I was wrong.

Honey bees are extremely interesting animals. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

Reading about the importance of bees and how they are now more and more threatened,I had decided to learn a bit more and joined a beekeeping course in the beginning of this year. I am far from the only one having got this interest lately, and the beekeeping veterans running the course were amazed to see 35 new members coming to the first meeting instead of the normal four to five.

Trying the get the loose honey bees out of the car before driving across the city. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

The thing about bees is that the more you learn about them the more intriguing they get. How on Earth does the bee queen know where to go when it’s time to mate? And how do the bees manage to tell each other where the best nectar is to be found? Why are so many of them dying all of a sudden, does it have to do with pesticides being sprayed on food crops?

I would really like to have a beehive, i thought – in a couple of years.

Who knows if it would ever have happened, if it wasn’t for this lottery. Only question: What do you do with thousands of bees when you live in a flat?

Finally the boxes are placed in the new hive, and after a few minutes the bees start flying in and out, getting to know their new neighbourhood. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

After sending e-mails to everyone I know in the area where I live, I ended up finding a nice new home for them, a local garden association where the members keep bees together. It’s reassuring to have others that will take care of the bees together with me, and last few weeks we started restoring an old hive to give them a new house.

Last week it was finally time to move the bees from their current home in a park north of Stockholm. The rain was pouring down and the bees (approximately 40.000–50.000!) weren’t exactly in their best mood when we put them in the car to cross Stockholm… But now they have a new home, which I hope they will like!

  • Pol – Croatia

    Interesting. I see at the weather map that although here in south there were almost no rain this summer, most cyclones do cross over Scandinavia, so i wondered if you had more luck with weather this year, which would also be more pleasant for bees and other plants and animals to live and grow. (?)

    We noticed here that even birds have disapeared somewhere lately or had problems with flying, but yesterday we finaly had the first rain and little bit of stormy weather. It is interesting when you sense the first wave of cooler air hiting, passing and then suddenly you have find yourself in some other (weather) reality, at least the senses are pretty engaged so the imagination is more likely to go wild. …

  • sarajeswani

    Unfortunately this summer has been a rather bad one, with cold temperatures and a lot of rain. People on holidays aren’t the only ones complaining, also farmers and food growers in general have had a very bad season, with crops often maturing much later than normally, or even failing completely.
    When it’s raining, bees can’t really be out, which makes pollination difficult, so in that way a bad summer for the bees and other insects is also a bad summer for farmers.
    And today we certainly had a hint of autumn, with 9 degrees Celcius in the morning… so I suppose we shouldn’t hope for a late summer either.

  • Monica-USA

    Congratulations on scoring your first beehive! :o ) Good luck and I wish you much success.

  • Pol – Croatia

    Aha, then it seems we had too much hot and you too much cold air, as something is preventing to mix properly, so to become more evenly mild for everybody.

    Thank you, i presumed diferently, but now i am even more interested why and how this happened. Hopefully it doesn’t have something to do with those physics tests in Switzerland. I heared also some to connect the increased Sun activity with such weather. Now, we probably have to prepare for very cold winter, but who knows (?).

    Good luck with the bees …

  • sarajeswani

    Thank you so much, Monica. Actually we extracted the first honey yesterday, I must say it was a very special feeling to walk home with my very own little bucket of honey!

  • sarajeswani

    Thanks Pol!