I went over tonight and picked up the Queens. I was supposed to get eight, but two had died so I only got six. The entire situation is making me nervous because if two perished in the hours between my call and my picking them up, how long do I have to get these Queens installed and will they flourish?
The stress these creatures are under is inestimable, sitting in a tiny plastic cage next to other Queens (they like to be one to a hive, remember) tended by a small cluster of workers. The sooner I can hive them, the better.
This is how the Queens are sent in bulk by the breeder via UPS or US Mail
Inside the box are stands holding the Queen cages. To the left bees are feeding on sugar and the white is a damp paper towel from which they drink
Worker bees feed the Queens through the holes in the Queen cages
Meanwhile I am working on responding to emails from folks inquiring about the Hive Host program. I have had a HUGE response from a posting new Hive Host Theresa R. put on the Master Gardener listserv and that has been wonderful. Not only did we gain another chicken yard with Theresa, but a great ally in our struggle to keep the honey bee in action. She also has an amazing yard of wonderful plantings. Photos to come!