As time goes on, I'm becoming more and more heartsick over what the package bee industry subjects honey bees to.
The definition of a Puppy Mill is: "an establishment that breeds puppies for sale, typically on an intensive basis and in conditions regarded as inhumane."
In my opinion, that exact same definition, with the words "honey bee colonies" substituted for "puppies" could be used to describe the package bee industry.
This spring, I installed some nucleus colonies for some clients of mine. I snapped the photo above of the outside of one of the nuc boxes just before I opened it. Every vent hole had a bee in it that was desperately trying to get out. This nuc box had been transported just like several others, but this colony was over-crowded, over-heated, and violently fanning to try to lower the temperature of their hive.
The extreme state of their distress broke my heart. Possibly one-third of the bees were already dead, and time will tell if the queen survived and is still viable.
I hardly slept that night, and the sight and sound of their anguish still haunts me. I don't ever want to experience that again.
Our society has decided that Puppy Mills are not okay. My hope is that someday we will also decide that "honey bee mills" are not okay as well.