At 6:00 Sunday morning six hundred packages from California arrived at our place. Half the garage was filled with cages. A couple of days later the bees are all at their respective homes and the garage sits empty. The neighbors stopped to ask why so much traffic flowed into our driveway They came back with a camera to capture the bee garage for posterity.
I spent yesterday shaking our fifty packages in heavy wind. I thought it might go a lot worse, but the bees went into the hive bodies instead of the air. This was our first experience with 4lb packages containing two queens. I used a garden sprayer to wet them with diluted syrup and did my best to get two pounds of bees into each hive. It seemed to go quicker with two packages of bees held in one box–fewer parts to handle in the course of shaking. I always fear that the packages won’t like their new home and end up hanging in the trees, but I kept them out of the air with enough syrup to keep them from flying during installation. The only downside to my experience yesterday involved shaking until dusk, and that meant the occasional loose bee stopped flying and started crawling into all the openings in my clothing. Ouch. Today I’m going out to unblock the entrances and release the queens.
The other project for the day? Free the flatbed before the rains return to night. We shall see.