"..enjoy your columns. My wife is a beekeeper and I'm starting to get nervous about Christmas shopping, all she wants is real bees. Any suggestions besides telling me it's ok for bees to bite me?" -- Matt
Bee Gift Ideas
The good news is bees don't bite, they sting, and only if you do something to threaten them. If you run into bees away from a hive stay calm and move slowly, they should not bother you. If you spend any time in your garden, the bees will learn to recognize you but as soon as I say that, you will run into a cranky colony so, just stay away from the hives until you get more comfortable understanding how they live and how you can stay safe around them.
In terms of gift ideas, I do understand your wife's excitement about getting real bees, it's a very exciting thought. If you want to present her with some, you can give them to her with a little imagination. Real bees are not available for delivery in Missouri until April at the earliest, more likely May. If you want to give her bees, put a note in a bee-themed container like this glass skep that says you will pay for a "nuc", a nucleus or starter colony. They run from $125 or more, depending on where you purchase them.
This little glass skep was a gift from a friend, she found it at an antique mall off I-70 near Columbia, Mo. She said they were available in different colors.
In the meantime, you may want to give your wife something more personal, such as a pair of bee earrings or a necklace. I am partial to pins because I can easily move them from a sweater to a jacket or a hat but you know your wife's preferences better.
Bee earrings can be added to a Chrismtas stocking or placed inside the glass skep for an extra surprise. I would be tempted to box them separately and leave the real bees purchase card in the skep. If you don't want to buy real bees, you could select the bee jewelry by itself, or add it to the inside of the skep as an extra surprise.
The little glass version of a skep, which is a woven basket where bees used to be kept, works quite nicely as a little jewelry container.
Another possible gift idea is a vintage piece of beekeeping equipment. Old smokers are popping up in antique malls where I live, as well as some ceramic honey pots with bears.
This old glass honey jar with the stamped comb pattern on the side and the original lid was a great find, the glass jar is interesting all on its own.
You could package each separately or group them together for a one-time gift.
I can attest to how well a beekeeper would like them, these were gifts a friend gave me for my birthday and I love them!