When we say Migrate we mean MIGRATE !
We move 3000 beehives, 7 children- some with spouses, grandchildren, 2 employees, 3 one ton trucks, 7 additional vehicles, trailers, various extra bee equipment, campers, goats, dogs, a cat, and sometimes chickens… not to mention household supplies and schoolbooks!
This is more fun than it looks!
How long does it take?
Well, the short answer is 22 hours. The long answer is actually about one month to get all the bees, beekeepers, and their stuff to one place or the other.
How many Semi trucks?
It usually takes FOUR semi trucks full of beehives. Depending on the arrangement of the beehives there are between 440 and 816 beehives per semi-truck. The beehives are loaded in the early morning or late afternoon so that most all of the bees are back in their beehives and as calm as possible. It is, however, the one time each season that we break down and wear beesuits and gloves! The bees do tend to be a bit sassy! Once the beehives are loaded on the semi truck a net is put over the whole load so that the bees don’t escape while the driver is making the 1250 mile trek across the country. The driver has a bee veil of his own and is given clear instruction on the best methods for driving a load of bees. Namely, keep driving while it’s hot and daylight! Bees create a lot of heat and stopping needlessly could cause overheating and the loss of beehives would be tragic.
Did anything bad ever happen on the road?
Yes, we have lots of stories we could tell about scary things that have happened ‘on the road’. The only story we’ll share is about the one time that a semi load of our beehives tipped over only a half mile from our home location in Wisconsin. We had just gotten two loads of beehives loaded and sent both off at once, and came into the house when the phone rang. It was one of the drivers telling us that the other truck missed the corner and was hanging into the ditch just down the road!! What would you do? We called the police because the truck was laying over on its side and partially blocking the road. Unbeknownst to us, 911 calls are monitored by the AP and TV stations, so it didn’t take long before a helicopter was flying overhead and we were the topic of the evening news. The positive effect of this was that neighbors and friends started to come out to help pick up the beehive boxes, getting stung right alongside us. Fortunately, this incident happened in the evening, it was close to home, and the driver was going slowly. We were able to recover all the boxes by stacking them all, by hand, back onto our trucks and then hauling them back to the farm. The trailer of the semi was twisted and totaled. The beehives were sent out a couple of days later on a different semi. Most of the hives perished because of lost queens but the equipment was preserved. That was an amazing event, one of which our neighbors still remember! One of the amazing things was how many non beekeepers came out and were willing to get stung on our behalf. We pray that once in a lifetime is enough for an event like that! God, once again, allowed a trial in our lives to show us His faithfulness and trustworthiness.