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2009 Package Bees

It's that time of year again. We're still in the middle of winter but it's time to start thinking about how many packages will be needed for expansion or to replace winter losses. The phone is already starting to ring with inquires and people who want on the list for this spring. We do not have the 2009 prices finalized yet, but current indications suggest they are shaping up to be comparable with last year. If anyone wants to pick up packages that come through our place in Lynnville, February is the best time to reserve but we normally have space on the truck through March as well. We require a 50% deposit to finalize orders. We plan to offer 2 pound and 3 pound packages with a Carniolan or Italian queen again. 4# packages with 2 queens are gaining popularity also--you shake half the bees into separate boxes and give each one of them a queen. A syrup sprayer is your best friend when you're gauging when you've shaken half of the bees out. It's much easier to estimate when the bees are clumped together rather than flying around. The stickiness also keeps them out of the air as they fill their bellies and clean the syrup out of their new home. It will probably be one more month before we get into the colonies. With any luck, we will have a break of warmer weather sometime after the middle of February. Late February and early March is the time when we really need to check on feed in some of the colonies. Last February that break in the weather didn't really materialize, but I still got around with a sled in temperatures in the upper twenties and thirties. As for now, it is eight degrees above zero with a fresh blanket of overnight snow. Here I have a picture of a native Estonian beekeeper selling her wares in the Christmas Market in the capital city of Tallinn. She was very friendly and gave me a beekeeping price-list in Estonian language "just in case." :)

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