They’re finally here! All 20,000 are snugly tucked into their new hives at Almeria, on a eucalyptus table right next to our newly-planted potatoes and largest lagunita. It was somewhat of a struggle to get to this point — and it only happened today through sheer coercion — but it happened! We have bees!
See Jossua, our bee guy, is a bit slippery when it comes to nailing down important details like times and places and how much things cost. Like an ugly date he stood us up last weekend for our Sunday installation. But, having been the fourth time he pulled this trick, at least we knew enough not to believe him and didn’t bother making the schlep from Cusco to get there early Sunday morning. Yesterday, however, we stopped at his tienda and asked him when he planned to come by. Telling us manana, we told him we’d meet him at his shop that morning and “help” him out by coming along for the ride to Almeria. That seemed to do the trick. Finally.
This morning, Jossua, Madeline and I, all piled into a taxi and drove from Cusco to Almeria with two nuc colonies and two hives in the trunk, ready to be installed. Not really sure how Africanized bees would handle the bumpy ride, Mads and I decide it couldn’t hurt to put our masks on while inside the beat-up taxi.
After the hour drive, Baltezar met us at the gates and helped us unload the boxes and bees. All in all the installation went smoothly. It was my first time in a bee suit, and I can’t tell if the get-up made me more or less uncomfortable. The Africanized bees certainly are more aggressive and continued to ping my mask even at 20 feet away. But other than that, we had no problems and no stings. Even after Baltezar got two stuck in his hair, somehow he managed to shake them off and walk away unscathed.
There was one snag though, when Jossua pulled a frame from his nuc colony that had grown a little skewed because it didn’t have starter wax. Like a surgeon he asked for a small saw to cut the excess, and after that he was able to slip it in as number 10.
Now it’s up to us to feed them for at least the first three days to one week.