We got our first truckload of bees on the road last week. We are getting better at handling them as we get more experienced. It still seems somewhat out of body that we are in the almond pollination picture. We resisted going that direction for quite a few years before deciding it was a crucial leg for our business to attempt to incorporate. Expenses and labor requirements keep going up, but annual honey prospects and bee vitality are less reliable for a host of reasons. This year we plan to send three trucks instead of the single exploratory load that went last year. Here is Alex with this year’s first load all bundled up.
Still, there is a learning curve, and that can be expensive. We planned for this load to land directly in California. Instead we had a problem at the California border inspection despite cleaning up the pallets better than last year. It is a very long story, but suffice to say that we will try very hard to avoid weekend inspections in the future. The qualified staff for analyzing potential invasive species is apparently not in the office all the time. This load of bees is still headed for almonds in the long run, but they’re wintering in an Idaho bee cellar until January. I wanted to try cellaring bees at some point, so now I guess it’s happening. The bees needed to be somewhere safe, and fortunately two of our friends arranged to get the cellar doors open when they needed to get off the road. It will be interesting to go through the hives after they come out of their indoor winter!
Our second truckload will leave early next week. We hope that one gets to its intended destination peacefully!
In the meanwhile, I have a few dozen additional hives to roundup for the third truck. As the images show, the early winter persists.