All the Bees are Gone! . . . Winter Break 2019
Our last truckload of bees indeed made it to California safely. I was most worried about the snow I mentioned in the last post potentially closing I-80 up in the mountains, but the 30" I feared turned into less than three inches in the end. The forecast at that elevation changes drastically from day to day and hour to hour. Since it looked a little dicey when our trucker entered the mountain stretch, he had to verify that he had chains onboard. We got pretty close to an actual chain order to put them on, but it didn't quite reach that point since the temperature stayed a couple of degrees higher than forecast until later into the evening. I spent a lot of time checking the weather changes for a few hours to make sure our driver didn't head into a bad situation. All clear this time!
We weirdly have zero hives in Iowa right now. They overwhelmingly had strong populations and good weight, so we didn't have sketchy colonies to hold back. We certainly made some combinations out of weaker hives to boost certain colonies and make them worth shipping, but we feel good about their odds too. Anyway, the quality of the hives and the math for shipping a tight load worked out in our favor this time.
So far we've always been able to use two loaders, one on each side of the trailer, to make smoother and quicker work of getting the trucks on the road. That is what is happening in the intro image for this post. Below is an image of Alex and me coming off the trailer after laying the boards and running the straps. While it looks a little precarious to ride the forks up and down, it's a lot safer to use a loader than to climb the pallets. We also have an extension bolted onto the fork attachment to keep the top pallet from possibly sliding back onto the Bobcat operator, and it is also great to hold onto during the ride up and down.
I've started booking reservations for our January adventure to spend time with the bees in California. It is nice to have a break, but it makes me nervous to have all of the bees far away. In roughly one month we will see how they are faring. May the overwintering losses be small! Northern Cal is getting some rain this month. That will be good for the almond trees, filling the creeks with water for the plants and bees, and hopefully lead into a warmer pollination season than we experienced last year!