A bit of a flashback for this post, all the way back to the summer of 2017.
I was super lucky to be introduced to a veteran bee keeper in Kagawa.
Keeping honey bees had always been a dream for me, since my youth.
(The others being, of course, eating fresh veggies from my own garden, and picking fresh flowers off our own property to decorate the table… )
Requested him to teach me on how to keep bees.
Soon, I found myself in one of his several bee farms…
He said he would give me some bees to try.
Next thing, he asked his helpers to load six, yes, six bee boxes onto my truck.
Imagine, I would be more than happy to have just one bee box, but six?
Anyway, I dashed home and rushed to the potager, and immediately cleared some space for the bee boxes.
Having zero experience, and little knowledge about apiary farming, naturally, I had to learn the hard way.
He gave me some pieces of equipment to start off; most intriguing for me is the ‘smoker’.
But before I realized it, ‘ouch!’, the bee stings!
Anyway, what a ‘joyful pain’ it was, as I was in high heaven…
But, came autumn 2017, ‘tragedy’ struck…
The poor honey bees were attacked and eaten by hornets (yellow jackets?).
I consulted the bee keeper master and he gave me some hornet traps.
Those traps worked, but there were just so many of the hornets.
Feeding voraciously on my bees, the population of the hornets exploded…
So much so that the hornets even had the nerve to make their home right under my nose, or rather undernearth the roof of my house.
I would say, the diameter of the nest grew up to about half a meter.
Not knowing what to do, I contacted the veteran bee keeper.
He came with a water pump, and thoroughly tore down the nest.
Unfortunately, the population of my bees continued to decline.
When winter 2017 came, the bee keeper dropped by to look.
And he said, ‘the bees were very few, let me take them with me, and I shall bring new bees for you again next season’.
Dismayed as I was with my shabby care for the bees, I looked forward to a second chance to learn about bee keeping again.