box of maniacs

I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

—Sylvia Plath

Crated Bees, Hummer Bros. Apiary, @1935

The shipment of bees and queens between the producer and recipient relies on rapid transportation and careful handling en route. Queens are shipped in small wood and wire-screen cages, along with 7 to 10 attendant worker bees and some candy, via airmail as far as the other side of the world. Package bees are shipped largely in the recipients’ trucks, where they receive optimal care. For package bees, air freight is feasible but expensive; railway express, once the most preferred by the industry, now has too few routes and too many handling problems; parcel post is feasible for small shipments, but handling has been variable. The shipment of nucs, as with larger colonies, is best attended to by experienced beekeepers, who know that bees need water and cannot stand much heat: therefore, they are best shipped on the recipient’s truck.
—Queens, Package Bees, and Nuclei:  Production and Demand, Kenneth W. Tucker

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