The past couple of weeks have been difficult and scary. For me, my family, and now for many of my friends. So when I found an envelope from the State Plant Board in my mailbox this afternoon, I was almost afraid to open it.
A week earlier, I’d mailed off my application for a bee yard registration. It probably should have been one of the first things I did when I decided I wanted to start keeping bees this spring. In Arkansas, beekeepers are required to register their hives and bee yards in enough time to receive state approval 20 days before bees can be on the property, so I was cutting it close when I waited so long to send in my application. Without a valid registration, I would have spent the equivalent of round-trip airfare to Paris on equipment and bees for nothing.
And after the crappy time I’d already been having this month, I just didn’t think I could handle it if the state decided I was unfit to care for bugs.
Registration required the physical address of my property, the latitude and longitude, and a other weird things like township number and quarter section where we live. But I was also asked to name my bee yard. And the information with the registration form said, “It can be whatever you want.”
Six weeks before I sent in my registration, I’d read enough about bees to know that male bees (drones) are useless. To conserve energy and food supplies, the workers haul the drones out of the hive when the weather starts to turn cold. The male bees die off every year and the queen lays more for the next season. So of course the first name I decided on was “Bee-yonce and the Single Ladies.”
I was tickled by how clever I am.
Two days before I sent in my registration, I asked my Facebook friends to help me name the bee yard. The debate went on for a full 24 hours and each suggestion made me die laughing. But in the end, I did what I always do when I ask for my friends’ advice: I ignored everything they said and made my own decision.
In a nod to the BeeGees, I named my two-colony bee yard Stayin’ A Hive. And today I found out that the person with access to the rubber stamps in a state agency thinks it’s OK for me to call myself an apiarist.