I am fascinated by the life cycle of bees. They live this very medieval and difficult existence. There is no room for error if you’re a bee; if the queen dies, the colony dies.
One day I was driving out in Langley and I saw the Bee Centre. I thought, “Damn it, I’ve done enough reading about it – I’m going to go get some bees.” I went in there and the guy wouldn’t sell them to me without taking a course, which in the end I was glad I did. Since 200 stings can kill you and a big hive has 80,000 bees, it’s good to get comfortable with them with some supervision.
I got into it just because I was interested, but once I started getting honey I realized it was pretty wonderful too. It takes me a little more than an hour per week because I’m not as expert as somebody who does it all the time.
At first I thought real beekeepers didn’t wear gloves, and I got stung quite a bit, and, because every time a beekeeper makes a mistake bees die, I started to wear gloves more. I had seven stings on the back of one hand once; it looked like the top of a hamburger bun.
It’s very peaceful. You can’t really be thinking about anything else when you’re around them. They’re pets, and it’s great to watch them develop over the summer and raise the babies and create honey.