My granddaughter Madelynn spent part of the day at the bee store with me on Wednesday. It was somewhat of a short day because I didn't go into the store until noon. Rachel covered for me while I prepared a new queen bank before going in to the store. I had to pull some frames from one of my hives to make up a small queenless hive that will take good care of the queens until they're sold.
I'm glad that some of my grandchildren really enjoy coming with me to the bee store. I think some of the attraction is the idea of being involved in a retail business. They seem to enjoy things like working the cash register or putting prices on merchandise. Madelynn seems to be more attracted to the bees themselves. By the time we got down to the store the UPS man had already delivered the queen bees. The first order of business was to transfer the queens from the shipping container to the queen bank. This is actually fairly involved. The queens are shipped in a two part cardboard box with ventilating screens. Inside the carton are 50 queens in small wooden cages, a damp sponge, a hunk of sugar fondant, and about a half a pound of loose worker bees. The process of transferring the queens to the queen bank results in lots of loose bees in the air. While I was replacing the corks with candy plugs, Madelynn acted like the surgical nurse, handing me the candy plug as I was ready with each cage. She had a veil on, but no gloves and she was also wearing shorts and flip flops. She has assisted me when I worked a few hives once and seems pretty comfortable with the bees. I think she has what it takes to be a beekeeper. I think some of my best memories of the bee store will be the times I had grandkids helping out.
I also had a visitor before I went into work. Kenny the Frog Guy came by to remove the comb from a stack of old bee boxes. He uses the wax to raise wax moth larvae. He then feeds the larvae to the poison arrow frogs he breeds. What I get out of the deal is someone else removing the wax from the old frames so I can put in new foundation. Apparently, poison arrow frogs raised in captivity are not toxic like the ones in the wild. What makes them toxic is their diet. In the wild the frogs mainly eat ants and are able to concentrate the venom in the ants into their skin until the frogs are toxic. When fed a diet of fruit flies and wax moth larvae the frogs aren't toxic at all.