Our New Bees Have Been Installed

I would have taken a video for y’all, but these bees were in pretty poor shape.  We thought at first that half of them had died overnight.

…and the bees had been stressed.  They get driven here from California via truck, and the last shipment?  Well, the truck got stuck in a Nevada tunnel for a couple of hours, and carbon monoxide did them all in.  Five hundred boxes of bees, about 500,000 innocent insects, all perished.  So the second shipment got through, but I’d wager these bees had been boxed up for far longer than was good for them.

So we dumped them in.  Alas, Queen Right Colonies, our supplier, was out of Cordovan Queens, so these bees? A gentle Italian.  Who are the most popular breed of bees in this area.

The question I’ve been asked three times thus far is, “Are they mean bees?”  And the answer is, “We don’t know yet.”  Like any pet, it’ll take some time for them to settle in, at which point their personality will become known.  They’re from a gentle breed, but that’s no guarantee, and something could go wrong with the queen (as it did last year).  In any case, we’ve gotten gloves and better suits, so if they are mean, we’ll be ready for them.

In the meantime, we’ve harvested some honey from the old bees, which is a wreck.  It’s all full of gook and wax, in a thin trickle at the bottom of a food-grade bucket.  That said, there’s something magical about this honey just being here, and Erin, Gini, and I keep dipping our fingers in to get a taste of the local floral bouquet, the sweetness strange on our tongues.  We’ll filter that shit out, get a small bottle for Amal (I want my honey poem, dammit), and see what we can salvage.  It’s a messy process, but somehow vital and earth-affirming, this processed sweetness from nothing at all.

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