Honeybees are considered livestock in Tennessee which allows them to be regulated and banned from HOAs at their discretion. I am lucky enough that I live on a peninsula near a lake and a state park. My house backs up to this elderly gentleman’s property that loves honey, owns his own land, and had no issue sticking it to my HOA by letting me keep my bees on the other side of my fence.
With the outlines of a plan, a secure haven for my bees, I leaped into my adventure feet first. I traveled up to one of the more rural towns on the outskirts of my city. I was a lot lost and a little concerned about making the wrong turn in the woods. I have watched the movie Wrong Turn a few too many times and I was not prepared to run for my life. I did eventually manage to find the property I was searching for, just as it began to drizzle. A group of men were lounging on a porch of a ramshackle building, smoking and laughing. One approached me, clearly expecting me.
I didn’t understand him and he didn’t understand me, but we gestured and made sounds until my trunk was opened and two “nucleus colonies” were loaded into it.
I had bees. Now what the hell do I do?!
By the time that I got home, it was dark and the rain had passed me by. I had prepared for the bees by having two 10 frame deep boxes already in their places on a pallet on the other side of the fence. I didn’t know, at that point, that bees were more defensive and angry at night, not to mention they hate flashlights… I know that now! but not because of this. With my husband and my best friend watching – with flash lights – I lit up my smoker for the first time and I set them in their new homes. I moved each frame carefully and slowly, listening to their hum and whispering under my breath that everything was alright. My stomach roiled from nervousness, fear, and not a little anxiety.
They were sweet, for bees being relocated and disturbed at night. They didn’t even chase or sting me!
My husband and friend couldn’t say the same. Darn those flash lights…
Two weeks later, I had cajoled my husband into helping me with an inspection. Keep in mind he wanted nothing to do with “my hobby” and that I was responsible for the chores that came with my hobby. I was still nervous, however, and he’s very supportive. So together we got ready to work the bees, myself in light colored clothing and a veil, he in a veil, a jacket, and dark gloves. Black gloves.
Did you know that bees don’t like dark colors? Did you know they especially hate the color black? I didn’t, back then. I also didn’t know how fast they could move when they felt threatened by bumbling new bee keepers.
We found out that day when they instantly teleported to the black glove that stood out brilliantly against the white lids of the bee hives. My husband didn’t appreciate them – or me – that day.
I called them Angry Rockets.