Beautiful Spring Honey
The Post Office has this new thing called "informed delivery"to let you know when your mail will soon be delivered. Go to informeddelivery.usps.com. The post office will send you an email notification of the eminent delivery of your packages. Actual photos of any letters will be emailed to you as well. It is a way for you to see what is coming with an estimated delivery time in case you won't be home at the time of delivery. You could also leave special instructions about delivery. Signing up is similar to signing up for a credit report in that it asks you 3 questions only you would know. It may help when you're not sure where your package is at or unsure when it will be delivered.
Changes have been made to the notice you receive with each bee shipment. We hope it makes the details of your account more understandable.
It has been another poor 'honey year" for bees in California. The Spring started out strong and some fine Vetch, Black Berry and Wildflower honey was brought in. We were able to make divides to make additional beehives, which is something we need to do every year. Our hive count is greatly lowered by natural die off of hives that just don't make it through the winter, along with hives being depleted in the Winter from shipping bees for venom therapy.
As Summer approached the Spring blossoms went away as usual, and the Star Thistle began to bloom. Star Thistle is an important honey source in our area, and we expected great things. However, the extremely hot summer set in with inadequate rain, and the thistle dried up early. The bees managed to bring in enough honey to keep going, but at a reduced rate, making them vulnerable to Varroa Mites. Many of the young hives we had started became strong, but many died or are so small they will not make it through the winter. Such are the challenges of beekeeping!
When the temperature got over 100 degrees here we were unable to safely ship 3 cages in one shipping carton, so we shipped orders of 3 cages in two shipping boxes to help the bees survive. In the Winter, when the temperatures drop, we include paper shreds in each package for some insulation.
Mishaps or extended delays in the postal route can cause death to the bees. To compensate for bee losses we include at least five extra bees, so we sometimes receive requests to postpone an order because of surplus. If you do not have someone nearby to borrow from, we recommend having more on hand for emergency. Having a safe place for the bees to be delivered to is important.
Bee cages can be recycled. We offer 75¢ for each cage returned to us. The cheapest postage is to mail them in a full "box rate" Priority Box, or simply return in the small mailer they come in.
The mailer will hold 8 cages, and at 11 oz., costs $3.97 for
Beeza Hut at etsy.com is a two chamber bee container
constructed specifically to handle these cages.
See their video on U-tube.
Bee Buddy is another excellent container for your bees,
and a video can be seen by finding them on Google.
Catching bees in the wild can be fun. An interesting school biology experiment shows that bees can tell time. Various flowers yield nectar at specific time of the day. Bees will visit these flowers only at that time. This can be shown by putting out sugar syrup for them at a specific time each day. After that availability is learned the bees will not appear until that precise time. Some people attempt to catch bees that gather at such a feed station. Others catch them on flowers.
The question is why these bees may not last long after being caught. My guess is that these bees are field bees and are older gatherers and determined to returned to the hive. The bees we ship are from within the hive, being of all ages and not all programed with the specific duty of gathering and returning. If you are catching bees in this way they would probably be usable for a short duration.
Bees at war: After being caged together the bees become a cohesive unit. When two units are combined they may see each other as invaders. Our recommendation has been to wet them with a light sugar syrup and allow them to get acquainted as they clean each other, or not release them at all at once. Some keep more than one bee house. Your comments on this or any other bee issue would be appreciated.
Many apitherapists exist around the country. Two leading ones who we know personally are Deb Elder with the "Flipping Lyme Foundation" and Ellie Lobel with "The Bee Bus Mission". Both are easy to find on the internet.
Moving Things Around
Allens Apitherapy Bees - dba Allens Bees