Bee Day

If you’ve never seen the Live Animal arrivals terminal at an airport, let me tell you—it’s a fascinating place. The live animal area at Portland International Airport has seen everything from purebred puppies to steel-caged cheetahs, and yet our packages unnerved them:

“You’re kidding right? You’re telling me 800,000 bees are coming off that plane?”

No kidding! Last weekend Bee Thinking co-founder Matt Reed and I traveled out to PDX to pick up nearly 80 3lb packages of Russian-Carniolian bees from our preferred supplier, Honeybee Genetics in Vacaville, California. We like Russian-Carniolans for their hygienic behavior, and we work with Honeybee Genetics because they share our commitment to treatment-free beekeeping. If you're new to beekeeping, these 3lb packages are one of the standard ways new beekeepers purchase bees to start a colony. The boxes typically include about 10,000 workers and one queen in a special queen cage. For more information on packages and installing bees, check out our Youtube page!

bee package pickup matt reed apparently it takes a while for bees to deplane…

After a short wait and the arrival of several puppies, a nervous cargo handler ushered us into the warehouse to claim our bees as quickly as possible. The quiet buzz of 3.2 million wings blended with squeaking forklift tires as Matt and I stacked bees into our truck.

bee airport pickup

Matt Reed Bee package

not what you usually see on a baggage cart.


Matt Reed loading bee packages onto truck

bee airport pickup

A few packing straps later we secured the bees for the last leg of their journey to Bee Thinking headquarters in the SE Portland.

packages in the bee thinking truck

arrival at Bee Thinking, off Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland



bee thinking staff check out the packages

three of our staff beekeepers checking out the new bees (left to right: Andrew, Katie, and Charlotte)

Every package had a pre-assigned home and an excited beekeeping waiting for our packages to arrive. By now these bees have traveled to waiting hives from Roseburg, OR to Lummi Island, WA. We sincerely thank our customers who pre-ordered bees this year, and wish you all the best of luck with with the 2015 season. Look forward to next year’s pre-order opening this coming winter!


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