One year ago, I started my first hive of honeybees, making for a fun and challenging and fascinating spring and summer of figuring out how to be a beekeeper. I winterized the hive and closed it up in October, but unfortunately the hive didn't make it.
It was very disheartening, but losing hives is sadly par for the course. So I decided to try again this year, going for round two and two hives. I got my packages from the Ballard Bee Company, who pick up over 250 packages in California and bring them back to Seattle on a custom trailer. By the time I got to his house to get my bees, there was just this pile remaining. Just this pile of about a million bees.
Only, there was no cage attached to the wire! I stared in shock at the lone metal wire as I replaced the canister so bees would not escape. Somehow in the transport process, the cage had broken free, and now as I looked into the package, I knew the queen was down there, not visible, under the pile of thousands of bees.
I didn't know what to do. It was one of those moments where I wanted to slough this problem onto some one else. Let some one more experienced take over. I imagine that is often what it is like to be a parent- not knowing what the right answer is, but knowing that you are the only one who can deal with something so you better step up. I sent a friend inside the house to get tongs, and decided to just try to find the cage that way. It took a few tries, more bees escaping than usual, and a good bit of adrenaline, but I eventually got her cage out!
Here's the Italian queen, alive and well.