There was a message on the Monadnock Beekeepers mailing list on Monday that Black Cat Honey had several extra packages of bees and would anyone want them. I called half an hour later and got the last two.
It seems that B. Weaver down in Texas had sent out a truck full of bees and Black Cat down in Winchester NH was the last stop. The truck had started with some spares of course, and some of them had made it all the way, so the driver offered them at half price to Richard at Black Cat, who passed them on.
I went down to collect them Tuesday night while Lisa went to an Agricultural Action Group meeting. It was cold, the boxes were sealed better than some I’ve seen, and I didn’t want them sliding around, so I brought them back in the cab of the truck rather than the bed. When I picked up Lisa she quickly took up my offer to drive while I held the bees in my lap.
Yesterday was still quite cold, so I waited until the afternoon when the temperature was above 40°F to put them into the hives. They are in the middle two hives, cut back to one hive body each with the leftover honey from one of the dead outs split between them. The only significant event was that I pulled the wrong cork on one of the Queen cages letting her majesty pop right out rather than having the workers excavate her and thus have some time to get acclimated. I’m hoping that the trip from Texas had already given them time to transfer allegiance.
While i was suited up, I looked in the surviving hive. I still didn’t find the queen, or any young brood. However there were at least two more frames of bees and several frames of older brood in a much better pattern than I saw before, so she must be there somewhere. The brood nest had relocated to the middle of the hive, split between the two hive bodies, also a better place than before.
I saw lots of pollen stored but no actual nectar or honey. The bees were also ignoring the hive-top feeder so they must be finding at least enough every day to stay alive and growing.