After much anticipation, the bees are finally here! Nuc #1, aka the A-Team, arrived in the night on the back of a trailer along with 50 of their most-irritated friends.
Nucs, if you’re new to this like we are, are live colonies. They’re small (about 5 frames — a regular size hive-body will hold 8-10 frames). Nucs can hit the ground running because they’ve already formed into a “nucleus colony.” Bees that arrive in “packages,” on the other hand, haven’t necessarily met before being piled into their screened bee-cages and shipped (in our case) up North.
The takeaway: Nucs have their hivesmanship thing down. They are already raising brood, collecting nectar, and defending their home. And each nuc has about 3 pounds of bees. Give or take, that’s somewhere in the region of 10,000-15,000 bees.
We drove them to our new beeyard in the hatchback. Under a bedsheet. They were not screened in.
It was intense.
Needless to say, it looked nothing like the above (too dark for pics, see below). But remembering where it all began last summer when a beekeeper showed us his hives — and cranking the hatchback’s A/C on high to keep the bees cold and please-god-not-flying-in-the-car — helped us keep calm through the Drive of Terror. (I kid, I kid. They were on my face though. Well, one was. Like I said, intense.).
Updates to follow! We pick up B-Team and C-Team tomorrow in what promises to be a much easier, day-lit, and screened-in adventure. B-Team and C-Team are packages (i.e. what beginners usually start with. Hahah. Oops?).
PS: No stings! For us anyway. Some fools with their no-gloves got stung up pretty bad at the pick-up site.
PPS: What was it really like? Drizzling, dusky and eventually dark, in a field with 20 other mostly-new beekeepers in a field across from a Unimart.