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Package Bee Day 2015

I picked up some package bees for myself and others this year. They came a day early, on a warm 80 degree day. But because packages NEVER come early, I had to get them the next day, during a blustery, 40 degree lunch hour.

blog package close cluster (2)
The hitchhikers are so cold that they were clinging to the nearest cluster they could find. I wasn’t greeted by any buzzing, happy flyers at all.

Two-thirds of the packages were picked up on the first day, leaving one-third of the packages to deal with cold temps on the second pick-up day.

blog package stacks #Iowa honey #bee #farmherlife
Packages come attached to lengths of lath for easy handling. They are clustered to manage the cold.

On the way to and from home, I passed this building and had to take a picture.

#Iowa #countryside
I love finding scenes like this.

By the time I rolled into town for my first package drop-off, the sun emerged and temps rose to the mid-50’s.

#bees, #farmherlife, #Iowa, honey
The bees broke cluster and were making happy noises by the time I got home.

Two packages were installed at this community garden site.

julia at forest ave outreach
photo of me pushing the frames together by B. Schmitz

My second drop-off was just down the street at another youth services organization and community garden. I offered moral support to a first-time package installer:

bee installation at CYC
Kids, bees, learning, what is not to love here?

I then made a quick stop to re-queen a hive. It would have been much easier to combine the hive or let it go, but the homeowner has gone to great lengths to have bees in the yard. I introduced a Carniolan mated queen. She looked great with her attendants.

queen bee, Iowa, honey


Lastly, I worked on my own personal bee hive. Even though this hive is in town, it is not near buildings. The wind was howling bitterly and feeling very cold. I started the day with a down jacket, installed a few packages wearing just a shirt, and ended with the jacket.

#farmherlife, #Iowa, #honey bees
The hive in front of the barn feels very appropriate.

I am looking forward to keeping this hive because it is in a community garden. The plot nearest me is worked by a man who is looking forward to being near the hive because he grew up with bee hives in Africa.