Tony, the head of Bee School, was kind enough to correct some factual errors from my posting. To paraphrase:
1. "A package of bees contain 13,000 bees, not 30,000"
First, I need to clarify. New bees arrive in two methods: one is a Nucleus Colony or ‘nuc’ and the other is a ‘package’. Up to now, I have thought of packages pretty much in terms of neat stuff delivered by UPS or brightly wrapped boxes filled with happy surprises. Really hadn’t occurred to me to think in terms of a little wire cage containing three pounds of bees. Three pounds. Think about THAT when you are tearing into your next birthday present . . .
Wish I could respond to the knowledge that I was 17 thousand bees too high on my bee estimate by saying , “Oh, well in THAT case.” But I can’t. Let’s face it. Until someone comes up with a way to run a fully functioning hive with, say, two or three really laid back bees, I will continue to need smoke. I mean the bees will. Oh hell, who am I kidding. . .
2. "The drones of the hive DO NOT mate with the queen of the hive. The drones go to a congregation area in nature, about 300 feet up in the air and virgin queens go for their mating. They mate with 10-20 drones, each one dies, the queen returns to the hive with the last drone's male apparatus with her, then discards it and goes about resting till she is completely mature."
Now THAT’S commitment. What more can I say?