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Interesting Story About Shipped Package

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House Bee

Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Baltimore City, Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:53 pm    Post subject: Interesting Story About Shipped Package Reply with quote

There is some debate over packages. Some say you should pick them up (not ship), some say you should try not to use packages at all, others say it doesn't matter either way. I'm not here to debate that. I wanted to share my newbee story about a 3 lb package that I had shipped from Maine to Maryland (US) and maybe get opinions and/or warn others about this small (possible) issue.

First thing in the morning on April 21st as I was taking my morning jog, I received a frantic phone call from the post office near my workplace office where I had the bees shipped for convenient pickup. They told me that the package was either broken or that it was attracting other bees because the outside of the box was covered with bees. They asked that I come pick them up around back on the outside the building ASAP and that someone would be there to greet me.

Naturally, I handled this news as gracefully as any level-headed newbee. I immediately sprinted back to my house, showered, gathered my work clothes and slipped on some rugged clothes with my bee jacket. Just in case, I also grabbed my smoker, a spray bottle with 1:1 sugar syrup and an old bed sheet. Normally, my commute takes 25 minutes; this time it took 15.

Expecting to take the package home and install it right away, I called my work colleague to let her know I would be late so I could deal with my bee fiasco. I parked at the post office and looked around; all was quiet. I was expecting at least one person to be out there anxiously awaiting my arrival. As I walked toward the loading dock, a gentleman walked out asking me if I needed help. All I said was, "bees?" He immediately nodded and directed me toward the little nook where the package was stashed on the loading dock.

Alas, the outside of the package did have some bees clinging to it- somewhere between 5 and 10 bees. I was a little annoyed at how much fuss was made, but happy that everything else about the package seemed to be just fine. There was in fact a small hole in the center of the screen on one side. It looked like something sharp had snagged and yanked the package during shipment. The hole was very small but definitely big enough for a few bees to find a way out.

Since I drive a SUV, I had no other choice but to wrap the entire package with the old bed sheet and stash it outside of my office. I ended up making it to work early instead of late. Weather forecasts predicted clear skies and mid-to-high 60 degrees F. I took the package out of my vehicle and placed it on the ground in the shade right outside the window in my office. I was able to keep an eye on them all day. Sadly... that was not the best idea, as it is recommended you store packages in a cool, dark place until installation is possible.

Throughout the first several hours of the day, the bees looked pretty calm and clustered. However, the bees on the outside of the package started making orientation flights around midday. Eventually, they would fly off for a good while, then come back. You wouldn't believe it unless you saw it, but the escapee bees actually landed on the outside of the package and started doing their waggle dances! Evidently, they had found a suitable place to live and the other bees trapped inside the package became very excited. They started breaking cluster and becoming pretty active once they got the message.

By the time I got out of work, the bees were running all over the cage and making lots of noise as if they wanted to disperse. Their adorable little antennae were poking through the screen and they were just full of excitement. Meanwhile, the escapee bees were orbiting the package like little satellites. It was a bit difficult and nerve-wracking to wrap the package back up in the sheet to transport them home. I put them on the front passenger floor and started on my way.

During my commute home, two bees escaped from the sheet and totally freaked me out while driving down the interstate. Sadly, to avoid human injuries or casualties, I had to open all my windows to get them sucked out. I hated doing it but I was scared. I did make it home and I did get to install them with no issues. Because I was so flustered from the day I had, I kept trying to start without all my tools on hand. Finally, I gathered everything I needed and got the bees installed.

By 10pm and I could see through the viewing window that they were clustered, eating syrup, cleaning out dead bees and festooning! Although everything seemed to have gone wrong, the end result was just right and I couldn't be happier. Now, if I could just figure out how to keep the neighbor's carpenter bees from pestering my honey bees...

Thanks for reading!
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Moderator Bee

Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bleeding hell!

Well done for keeping a calm head though all of that!

Very Happy
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B kind
Scout Bee

Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All's well that ends well! and a well told story too.
Good luck with your bees,

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Golden Bee

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1551
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And a lesson for those involved in selling/shipping packaged bees too!

Never seen them advertised in UK which I guess is partly due to the fact that most bee keepers here are relatively small scale and also the much smaller distances involved in moving nucs around.
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