It's been a hard winter, and we lost two of the three colonies; a big contrast against the 100% survival from last year. The bees we had ordered to grow our apiary went into replenishing winter losses instead. We installed the new bees (that's what putting bees in a hive is called), and here's a picture of the queen box from one of the packages.
The queen is inside a plastic tube at the top, but you can't quite see her in this shot. On the top right, you can see a worker feeding her majesty. The workers had built about 3 inches of comb hanging from the queen box while in transit. Here's where they travel in:
This package contains about 3 pounds of bees, a can of syrup with 3 tiny holes for the bees to feed on the road, and the queen in her own private chamber. Well within the cluster of bees on the left is Her Highness.
Under normal circumstances, the queen will be the mother of all bees in the colony, but since this is a package as opposed to a colony, the queen is most likely not related to the bees. Therefore, in order to protect the queen (from being crushed to death by the workers), she is shipped in her separate container. The bees overtime will get used to her scent (the pheromones), and will adopt her as their step mom.
I will open the hives in a few days to check for eggs. For now they seem to be happy in their new home.