adventures in beekeeping: the bees arrive!

We have four thousand new buddies at our River Cottage today. That’s right, the bees have finally arrived, after being delayed a couple of weeks due to weather. These are Italian bees that were shipped from Georgia to Betterbee, where Chad picked them on Saturday morning. The box they came in was about the size of a toaster oven. Because it was cold outside, and they had been traveling for days, the honeybees were really mellow, all huddled together and softly buzzing. Needless to say, I’ve never seen so many bees in one place. And, I never thought I’d say this, but honey bees are damn cute! Nothing like those pesky yellow jackets or chunky bumblebees. Approximately four thousand bees were in that box, along with the queen in her own special container. To get the bees in the hive, you pull out the queen’s box, place it in the hive, and shake all the other bees in. They are dying to be near the queen — whose box has a door made out of candy that bees eat to free her — and follow her immediately. Amazing, huh? Chad got stung only once. Sadly, some bees did die in the transfer. We think the cold temp may have been too much for them. But the next day, the sun came out and we could see the busy workers coming and going from the hive’s entrance. We’ll check on them in a few days to make sure the queen has made her way successfully out of the box. Wanna see more? Click here to watch Chad’s the installation of the bees on YouTube — Angela M.

From our partners

His movements while shaking the bees seem so calm. I think I would have felt a great deal more urgency to get the bees OUT of the shipping container and INTO the hive. I would probably have been stung much more than once because of behaving hysterically. ; )

I hope your bees thrive. They must be very hardy creatures, or they wouldn’t survive the shipping and the shaking.


i was shaking on the inside, trust me….

Mary T

Wow — once is too much for me!! Great, video, though. I like the “bee” sound of the song, too. Also, nice hat!


OM Gosh…I think he needs to get a bee suit or at least hat…they are not always that mellow. Have fun, what a great project.


This is AWESOME. Keep the updates coming, I have dreams of doing this one day when I don’t live in the city. I’ll have to live vicariously through Chad for now!


bee suit? i don’t need no stinking bee suit!!!
just kidding, i’ll break out the fancy pants bee suit next time.

I would love to do this but damn my allergy to bees. My husband has been talking about it for years and it’s a bummer that we can’t. Good luck with your bees!

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[…] it is, one week after installing the bees into our new hive. The time had come for us to check on their progress. We needed to see that they […]