The Bees Come Home

Bringing home bees is always exciting.  After weeks or months of preparation, planning and dreaming, you finally get to hold a little wooden box full of honeybees, and listen to them hum, and for me, it’s a moment full of hope.

Like I’ve said before, these bees had a long journey to reach the garden.  On Wednesday, they were loaded onto a truck in California, and started driving Northeast.  By Friday morning, they were in Iowa, and the driver made several stops to drop off packages of bees along the way.  By dinnertime on Friday, they were halfway across the country in Stillwater, Minnesota, and ready to be picked up.  I drove out to get my package on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the garage with all the waiting packages of bees.

Garage Packages 2

Garage Packages

After months of waiting, one of the beekeepers shows me my package of bees. They look great!

Package 1

The package has about 2 pounds of worker bees, and one queen bee.  The metal can inside is full of sugar syrup so the bees have something to eat on the journey.

The bees are all clustered around a tiny wooden cage somewhere on the right side that holds a queen bee.  She’s the most important part of the package, and I’ll be very, very careful introducing her to the hive.

Finally, I loaded the bees into the car for the trip home.  As I sat down and reached for the seatbelt, I felt a sharp poke in my right armpit.  A bee that had escaped from some other package had flown up my shirtsleeve and when I moved my arm, she stung me!  I jumped back out of the car, and jogged over to the folks in bee suits, and said “I just got stung inside my shirt!  Do you have anywhere I can go to get the stinger out?”

They let me into their house, so I could use the bathroom to take my shirt off and then carefully scrape the stinger out.  Getting stung in the armpit sounds awful, but it actually wasn’t bad.  I think it hurt less than getting stung in the face or on the hand! As I’m writing this, (about 48 hours later) there’s still a little red spot about the same diameter as a pencil eraser where I got stung, and it itches a bit, but never got really sore.

Next time: Hiving the Package (or, putting bees in their hive).

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Published in: on 28 April 2009 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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