After sending a frantic email to my bee club and asking for reinforcements, I thought it only right that I attend a meeting to let the nice people put a face with the name. I also realize that getting to know other beekeepers personally will help me to learn and feel more comfortable about asking for help.
The meetings are held monthly at the Fountain Rock Nature Center. I remember this place from when a friend and I used to coordinate a kids group for the Humane Society. My friend scheduled a snake presentation for the kiddies. I’m terrified of snakes. I remember (as if it were yesterday) walking within a few feet of the front door, the door flew open, and I saw at least a half dozen aquariums filled with lively serpents. I imagined what lied beyond the entrance and decided I could see the show just fine from the parking lot. My friend finally came outside and walked me in. I actually touched some part of a snake that day…I think it was his knee 🙂
My point is, of all the meeting places, they picked the one with snakes. I approached the small log building apprehensively. Serpents still lived in aquariums, but they weren’t nearly as active as I’d remembered, and there weren’t so many. Thankfully, chairs were setup far across the room and as members arrived, I chatted with the club president about the UFO found in Yellow Hive 2 (YH2). He said I have a critter, possibly a possum, visiting the hive at night and eating my bees. The UFO is a regurgitated bee skeleton – kinda like a hairball, except the bee parts are compacted and expelled as a hard brown clump. He said these objects are commonly found on the ground beneath hives. So how did this thing get inside the hive? Well, I’ve concluded that by setting the box the gravel in front of the hive, the object stuck to the propylus and dropped onto the frames when I placed the box back in position. Not a thrilling conclusion, but now we can put that mystery to rest.
The meeting began with president asking new members to introduce themselves. I was the only new member. I told them my name. The president said “you had an issue recently with your bees. Would you like to tell your story to the club?” “Uh, well, I couldn’t find my queen, and I couldn’t see eggs, larvae or capped brood,” I said. I heard a voice say “that was you???” I hurried my story, gritted my teeth and closed fast with “Sorry for the false alarm! I did look this past weekend and I found eggs, larvae AND capped brood!” I glanced around for an “atta boy. They stared for a moment then moved on to the next topic.
We discussed feeding, the nectar flow, pollen patties and who would bring snacks for the next meeting. I signed up to work the Great Frederick Fair, made a few connections, and even won a copy of The American Bee Journal from the member-donated door prizes. Finally, I’ve inherited something good from my mother (aside from her voracious appetite for carbohydrates) – her uncanny luck for winning door prizes.
I didn’t stay for the cookies and lemonade. Instead, I headed out feeling that the experience overall had been quite positive. I braved the snakes, I discovered the origin of my UFO, and nothing was thrown when my true identity was revealed. I’ll go again next month. Heck, I may even sign up to bring snacks.