Last weekend I was visited by bees. It was raining heavily, and a few of them were gathered around a flowerpot at home, searching for nectar. I was hopeful, and when I checked after the rain, they had indeed set up home in a place I designed for them, fifteen months ago. The long wait is finally over.
The bee trap you see in the video is made from an old clay pot, placed on a mango tree. This is one of the most effective ways to catch a passing colony during the swarming period. Since placing the trap, we planted more flowering plants in close proximity. We also asked our neighbours to stop garden fires, as smoke could discourage bees entering the area. Weeks and months passed without any signs of success, until last week.
Since naming our flagship web app ‘CurdBee’ five years ago I developed a personal interest in bee-keeping. First I started learning from online sources, but later I started taking lessons from the Bee Development Unit of the Department of Agriculture.
With a group of amazing people I met during those training sessions, we started a bee preservation project in a 40-acre plantation site in Meepe (35 km from Colombo) last year. We placed traps in various locations and caught a dozen colonies in less than 6 months. We now look after 27 colonies, and they already produce quality honey.
When I decided to have my own trap at home, the preservation project team suggested that I take a colony from them and place it in a box, which will get me off the blocks almost instantly. However I preferred to start from scratch, as it seemed to be the more organic and sustainable way compared to relocating a hive to a totally strange environment. I certainly felt like a real failure each time my team asked about the progress, which seemed to evade me. Not anymore.
I am happy to see the new friends. I am happier when I’m reminded of one of the first lessons a bee keeping instructor shared during the early days:
Never be in a hurry to produce honey. That’s the final output of a very long process and the efforts of thousands of bees. Your goal should be to create a better environment for them and make them a happy. They’ll do the rest for you and for the world at large.
That lesson is very valid. Without really noticing it I had been creating a better environment for them over the last year. In the beginning the trap seemed rather uninviting, but now it is located in a tropical eco-system with more flowers, plants, and even birds’ nests, making it one of the perfect set ups for bees.
There’s a lesson for business too here, but that’s a post for another day.