Last week we had our first official interstate beeventure of 2012 – a visit to Jester Bee Company in Mims, Florida. It was a nice to be able to roll it into a family visit as well. :) Over a thousand miles from Seguin, thirty-five nucleus hives waited for us and our little Tundra. To help make up for the hives we lost last year due to the drought, we decided to replenish with some new bees. The Jester nucs looked healthy and hopefully they’ll take to their Texas homes just fine and start building up robustly to take advantage of the flowers that are about to burst all over the place here. After inspecting the bees in the Jester bee yard, we loaded up – well, as usual I just watched and I was fully suited just in case since we didn’t know what to expect but they are really gentle bees! With the bee net over the nucs, we took two days to make the 18.5 hour trip back to Seguin. We stopped a total of four times to alternatively water and ice the truck bed. Amazing how you can drop the temperature from about 86 to 79 within twenty minutes that way. How did we keep track of the temperature? A nice little $10 thermometer from Walmart. The gauge was placed in-between some of the nucs and the display was kept in the truck cab with us and we monitored in that manner all the way home. Great tip! Thanks to Kevin for telling us about that.
On the second day of the trip back home, we got going around 6:15am, timing it so that we’d hit Houston at a non-rush hour time so we wouldn’t have to sit in traffic and heat the bees up unnecessarily. Wouldn’t want to bake the poor things out there in the Texas heat (it was in the mid-80s that day and sitting still on the freeway wouldn’t help). We ate Subway as we drove the last stretch, made it to the front door by 4:30pm and then headed out to the Big Oaks bee yard with our awesome assistant beekeepers, David and Roby. They placed the nucs on top of the hives they had prepared a week earlier out there and then set about transferring the frames into the new homes. Of course I documented the entire beeventure photographically, so hop over to our Flickr set and check it out.
Finally, here is a shot of the lovely Jester family as we bid them a farewell after Kevin watered the covered hives to keep them as cool as possible. We are thrilled to have new friends in Mims and we hope to continue working with the Jesters next year if all goes well. We’d also like to wish the Jester family well as they continue to settle into their new home down south.