Package Day

April 20, 2010

Once again, package day has come and gone. Although we got home with all the bees safe and sound, it was not without entertainment! As usual, I overextended myself, and stayed up all night long the night before. Unable to turn down those extra equipment orders, and wondering if the neighbors were bothered by the sound of the saws and planer running all night, I kept at it! My wire embedder took a nose dive at about 4am, and I had to keep unplugging it for a few minutes after every single wire. Considering there were had 70 frames with 4 wires apeice, I was not a happy camper. I did get them all done in time to leave, but just barely.
There was a “severe winter storm” warning for Turnagain Pass. This is not the kind of weather to be traveling in with a Suburban full of bees and no sleep! We crossed our fingers and prayed for a safe trip. Brandon had gotten a solid 3 hours of sleep, so he volunteered to drive. I snuggled up in the passenger seat with a blanket and kicked off my boots. The 90 minutes I slept was pure bliss! Then the phone calls started in………..
“Sarah, where are my bees?” “What time will you be back in town?” “Have you left Anchorage yet?” and of course the requisite “Mom I got in trouble at school again”.
By the time we got to the cargo transfer docks, my ear was sweaty and I was just a tad bit cranky. Thankfully, the bees were ready to be loaded up when we arrived. Eighty-four 4 pound packages to be exact. With an average 5,000 bees to a pound, we were pushing 2 million stingy critters who had enough traveling. There didn’t seem to be too may “fliers” loose, but as we chatted before pulling out of the parking lot, there seemed to be quite a few loose bees coming out the windows of the Suburban. As we pulled out onto the street, I turned around to take a peek, hoping to see the rest of the fliers heading out the windows. No such luck. What I saw instead was a cracked open package with bees pouring out a dozen at a time. As ridiculous as this may be, Brandon and I are both allergic to bees. I muttered an expletive or two, and told Brandon to pull over, and get out quick! Donning my gloves and veil, I climbed in the back and performed yet another Duck tape miracle. On the road again, with all windows down to let the fliers out, we got quite a few odd looks! Brandon graciously drove for me, so I could start returning  phone calls to expectant beekeepers. Although we were thankful that it wasn’t snowing, it would have been nice to not have pounding rain and high winds! We made it safe and sound, and by the time we got to our first drop-off point, there was quite a group of people waiting for us! I never charge beekeepers in my area for the delivery of their bees to the peninsula from Anchorage, but most of them chipped in on my gas, which was really nice! The packages were in excellent condition, and everyone was happy. By the time we got home, Brandon and I were more than ready for bed! No such luck though. I still had nearly 50 packages, only 23 of which were mine. As the beekeepers flooded my garage, I handed out packages and tried to answer questions coherently without falling asleep mid-sentence. Beekeepers are a chatty group of people, and by the time they all left, I was whipped!
Now the sawdust on my garage floor has been replaced by package bees patiently waiting to be hived, scattered assorted beehive parts, and sticky sugar syrup used to spray the packages down. There is a consistent buzz that is a little unnerving, and that unique sweet pheremone smell that almost promises a prosperous summer season….