bee installation complete!

Yesterday I went to pickup “the girls”. They were in transit from california, destined for a fellow beekeeping club member’s home in bellevue, wa. which is about 25 minutes away. The bee van had not arrived upon me showing up, so I had to wait half an hour…then this clunky chevy van pulls up, with ~120 packages of bees in the back…a partition between the driving section and the rear, and dryer vents stuck out the window to ensure good ventilation for the bees.
I mingled with the other seasoned beekeepers that were there to pickup their bees…discussing when the timing of installation of the bees into our hives, and plans for the journey home. I planned to put mine in the trunk…but one lady was driving a mini-suv, no trunk. She later donned her beekeeping suit for her drive home. This same lady also offered to carry the boxes to my trunk for me, so even though I brought my gloves and suit (just in case), I didn’t need them just yet.
After they were in my trunk (~ 30000 bees!) I could hear this sizzling-like sound…
On the drive home, I kept looking in my rear view mirror, like a bad horror movie, halfway anticipating some mass of bees to be staring back at me.

Alas, no such incident occurred. I dropped off the packages of bees at their staging area (a garage) to wait until today, when I could install them.

THe pictures show the collection of bee packages being unloaded and the “bee vacuum” which was used to suck up the stray bees that had collected on the outsides of the cages.

Today’s “hiving” went well…the mailman was out taking pictures of me, and a neighbor came over to check out my gear. Then, upon me getting ready to open the cages…everyone mysteriously disappeared… I heard mothers call their children in..part of me wondered if I should go hide too. Afterward,the bees were flying around… kind of crazy, I guess coming to a colder climate and being shaken out of their cages wasn’t a great experience. After getting the hives all closed back up, I had to stand around quite a while so they would leave me alone…I had to do my little version of a bee dance to shake them off of my back as several….I mean, SEVERAL, had decided to ride along on my back as I moved back toward the car/garage area. I will go back tomorrow to release the queen as she is in her own little cage within the hive. This is done so the hive bees can get used to the new queen’s pheromones.

I am officially a beekeeper now!

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