Pella Bees Away!
The central Iowa bees were all gathered at our Pella location and loaded for California last week. It is exciting to send a load from the area where our bee business had its birth. The image at the top of the post shows how they looked staged for the truck. They are stacked three pallets high and there are seventeen stacks for each side of the truck. 408 is the standard full load for double deeps in ten-frame equipment on a straight deck flatbed, but the full load number can vary a lot depending on the equipment. People who run eight-frame equipment or story and a half colonies can get a lot more hives on each truck.
Anyway, our truck made it to California this time, and that was a welcome relief after the drama of the first load! The driver made the trip in a little over fifty hours, which is pretty much the best we could ask for a single driver scenario. Whereas long haul package bee drivers are almost always teams, semi drivers with mature hives onboard are generally on their own and must stop along the way. We have one more load to get on the way shortly after Thanksgiving, and then we will call down the Idaho load in early January to arrive in almond land. Then we can have our beekeeping party north of Sacramento around January 15 and see how they all held up (or not) during December. We are hopeful since the bees stayed consistently strong and added weight well throughout the fall. We couldn't have worked much harder to get them healthy for winter.
Today and tomorrow are supposed to warm up to around 50F. That will give the last bees in Iowa a chance to stretch their wings and void their waste before getting on the truck several days from now. High temperatures in the region of California where they will winter range between the upper 40s and 60s from December through January, so it's not exactly tropical despite being much balmier than Iowa.
I predict that I will take it easy for a few days after the last load is away.