Today (April 16) was the first day package bees and I am so tired. I left on Wednesday with my friend, Quinten Williams,to pull our bee trailer down to Redding, CA. Quinten did most of the driving. On Thursday shortly after 2:00 p.m. they started loading up 550 boxes of honey bees into our trailer and we pulled out of town at about 3:15 p.m. Once they load the bees into the trailer it is a straight shot back to Snohomish, only stopping for gas. We arrived in Snohomish with the bees at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday. I spent the morning removing the packages from the trailer. Everything is stapled in place so the load won't shift and the bees will have ventilation. It usually takes me about four hours to remove all of the stapled lathe strips and get all of the bees out of the trailer. The first picture below shows the inside of the trailer with all of the packages still in place.
Once again my 78 year old mother was pressed into service vacuuming the hitchhikers off the bee packages. Linda spent part of the day ferrying bees down to the store and then relieved Grandma vacuuming hitchhikers. When they make up the bee packages there are bees flying everywhere. Many of these "lost souls" latch onto the packages so there are a lot of loose bees that make the trip from California. The hitchhikers don't go to waste. Our special bee vacuum sucks them into a cage without hurting them. When the cage inside the bee vac had lots of bees I used it just like a package and installed them into a hive.
Rachel spent the entire day at the bee store. We had several good friends who helped out at the store. Terry Johnson and Dave Pearson handed out packages while Dave's two daughters helped Rachel in the store. I don't know how we would be able to do the package bees if we didn't get so much help from our "bee groupies". Over 350 of the packages went to their new homes on the first day. We still have a little less than 200 left to hand out tomorrow. That may actually feel like a light day in comparison to today.