I completed a Beekeeper Certification Class in March and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my bees since then. After two delays, they finally arrived this weekend.
Christy and I picked up the package at Bailey Bee Supply around noon on Saturday. They still had about 50 packages on the trailer and told us to take any one we wanted–the expert advice: “Choose one with the fewest dead bees.” After a couple of minutes, I found a package with only a scattering of corpses and a tight huddle around the sugar syrup and queen cage; I thought it was a good sign that they were all one unified mass.
After confirming that “dump and thump” was probably the best method of installation (rather than placing the package in the hive for 24 hours), we headed home with only a handful of hitchhikers. At home I had already prepared everything I needed, so all we needed to do was grab the sugar syrup, hive tool, extra frames, toothpicks, and camera, and head to the hive to install the package.
The package installation went smoothly except for a few hiccups. First, I couldn’t manage to pry the strip holding the queen cage loose, so I had to cut it; however, I didn’t have the foresight to grasp the cage, so it fell into the package, and I had to reach into the package to retrieve it. Second, the queen cage came loose in the hive, and I had to readjust her position. As part of this process, I asked Christy to hold a frame, which is the only time she became a little timid, so we exchanged items–at which point, she almost fled with the queen cage. The queen, who we had decided to name Addie on the drive home, was eventually safely in the hive. Needless to say, if you have ever read As I Lay Dying, the name Addie probably seems quite appropriate now.
Feeling the bees fly around me was a transcendent experience, and I cannot wait to open the hive to check on their process. I am worried and excited!