We distributed most of the package bees that were preordered for 2019 this weekend. What an adventure! We normally work with one supplier that sends us one of the earliest loads out of California–usually arriving in the first weekend of April. The cool wet start to the California production season pushed everyone back three weeks. There was not good enough weather for the bees to develop as quickly on the almond orchards, drone maturation was behind as a result, and there wasn’t decent weather for queens to go on mating flights until very recently. To top it all off, the load we ordered was cut by 2/3s , which meant we needed to secure more packages from two other sources and collaborate with other beekeepers to fill a load in order to make the trucking feasible.
Here they are all unloaded. Alex is surrounded!
These situations make us grateful to have good relationships that make it possible to navigate challenges of this sort. Hopefully we don’t have a replay on the package front any time soon. There are still a few hundred packages coming in roughly a week from a Midwestern beekeeper to cover the rest of the commitments for 2019. Hopefully those go smoothly. Their truck journey will be much shorter, which means less stress for the bees and for us.
In the meanwhile, we are happily getting our own hives out to their production locations. Thank goodness for returning to the fun part of beekeeping and pretty vistas for the soul!