Bee Day – packages

photographic subject of page

These two packages of bees populated my empty hives. Each contains three pounds of bees; that's about 10,000 bees. Ideally, those bees are all workers, or females (diploid), rather than drones, or males (usually haploid): While drones contribute to the survival of the species, they do not contribute to the survival of the colony—as far as melittologists know. Each package also provides a single queen ensconced inside a small cage (not visible here) along with a few trusty attendants. I bought these packages from a beekeeper outside of Philadelphia. He collects orders for hundreds of packages for pickup at his apiary on either of two Saturdays in April. A few days beforehand, he drives to Georgia to collect the packages from his supplying apiary; he returns on Bee Day. Sourcing colonies from the milder south allows northern beekeepers to kick-start a new hive just when nectar begins to flow from spring's blossoms. A package costs $90–$110 in the Philadelphia area.