Bees by post

We live a relatively green life. Some things like not having central heating but burning wood as a main heat source are low impact outside the home, but we also do not drive, we never have.

Unfortunately the lack of personal transport can place limits on some things. Beekeeping is a hobby in which the acquiring of new bees relies heavily on the ability to transport them. Even going to collect a swarm can be difficult without a means to travel to their location and a method to convey a box full of bees back to the apiary. Transporting hive parts full of honey ready to harvest, to a place where it can be extracted, could also prevent a difficulty if an apiary is some distance from ones home as many often are.

Luckily for me, having a car is not always essential. It is perfectly possible to buy bees through the internet and have them delivered by post.

This is pretty straightforward when it comes to getting hold of a new Queen for example, they come in small packages and if sent using a fast service, with ventilation and clearly marked they should make the journey safely enough. However having a nucleus of bees delivered is a whole other thing. Four, five or six frames of comb with brood, maybe up to five-thousand bees in a box – that is not something in which there is any margin for error.

My new colony travelled the relatively short distance from Hampshire to Gloucestershire via Royal Mail Special Delivery. My regular and very friendly postman said he’d delivered bees before, but he still looked pretty relieved to hand them over to me.

Anyway it only took a few minutes to place the box where the hive will go, and open the flap to let them stretch their wings and orientate themselves a little, before I move them into their new house later today.

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