Beekeeping Blog

December Bee Trucks Away – 2020

It is only our third year of loading bee trucks. Somehow it feels much longer. Participating in almond pollination affects our whole calendar and beekeeping system. When they live, the bees come back extremely strong and it’s great for spring splitting and early honey collection potential when they return to Iowa. The main fear is that some bees crash after shipment, and that is a lot of money spent to move around hives that ultimately would have been much cheaper to keep in Iowa. The first two years going to California went well. Right now we have relief at getting the bees away on the trucks and we will await the outcome. Andrew is in the top picture as the truck we loaded last Saturday heads for the highway.

Our hives went later this year than last year. October 2019 was pretty cool, so we went ahead and got everything rounded up and started trucking in November. This year was unseasonably warm, and we took care of them into early December in Iowa. I do like holding them to a near broodless period to annihilate almost all of the remaining mites with an oxalic treatment before they go on their journey. It is one of the advantages of our seasonal cooldown. Nonetheless, a few had some brood right up to departure. They will have some mites too.

Here is a load staged before the snow fell. The truck didn’t show up for a few more days, but at least the temperature didn’t spike to the point that there was a lot of confusion and drift from hive to hive. At least I hope that was the case! There were two days in the mid 50s where they had moderate cleansing flights but didn’t go too crazy in terms of drift.

Sunset on newly staged hives. We lined them up for the truck on a cool morning two days later.
These bees saw some snow before they got on the road.

Now we will move on to the winter projects, the holiday honey sales rush, melt a lot of wax for sale, and continue getting the empty container inventory organized for the next few months. This is the time to get on top of the little things that pile up until we “have time.”

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