I ordered bees this week. They will arrive some time early in April.
In. The. Mail.
(I should probably mention to John, our friendly neighborhood mailman – that they are on the way. He might want to take a week off…)
I have always thought that was one of the coolest things about beekeeping – that you could send a package of live bees through the mail. I am sure that USPS people are careful with packages marked FRAGILE. But I suspect that nothing compares to the care with which they treat packages marked LIVE BEES.
I have always bought local bees. My first year, I got a nuc (a small box with five frames of bees, honey, and brood) from a local beekeeper, and watched in horror as the small hive beetles took over a month later. I have gotten several nucs from Steven Coy, who raises Russian bees, and have been really happy with them.
I have captured feral swarms, re-homed bees that were living too close to the humans, and have split my own hives to expand my bee yard. Not everything has worked, but it has been a great joy to try out new stuff each time.
I have never gotten anything through the mail.
This year, I contacted Mountain Sweet Honey, and ordered Italian bees to be delivered to my door. The online order was very easy, and they followed up three days later with a phone call, just to see if there was anything else I needed.
The process this year will not change. I will be collecting swarms. I have already put out a couple of boxes for luring swarms into controlled spaces. I will re-home stray bees that have taken up residence in people’s homes and barns and she-sheds. I will likely have no need of an additional box of bees being delivered. But it doesn’t matter – it still makes me smile when I think about it.
Video will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, I am sanding and painting the boxes and the bases and lids, in anticipation of the new year. Hoping that it will be a productive and healthy bee season.
And that the land will flow with milk and honey.