Local Post Office Key To Bee Success For Local Business

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pigeon Mountain Trading Company is a locally-owned beekeeping and apiary store located in LaFayette, GA. Every year, they sell thousands of packages of bees. Quite a few of those are picked up at the store, but the majority of the bees are shipped to the buyers. This year alone over 42 million bees will be sold. "Because of the stellar work of the United States Post Office, more than 99% of our bees arrive at their destination in wonderful shape," officials said.

Transporting bees to every state in the country takes lots of planning and preparation.

PMTC Staff Member Lori Jackson prepares each package of bees prior to delivery to the Post Office. Special labels are applied to each box indicating that “live bees” are enclosed. All the paper work and shipping labels are filled out and applied, and the bees are ready to go.

Larissa DeBerry, LaFayette’s Post Master, oversees the bee shipments. She first alerts the Chattanooga Distribution Center that a pick up of live bees is needed. Then she and her staff collect up to twenty wired containers in which the bees will travel. When the bees arrive from Pigeon Mountain Trading Company®, DeBerry and her staff scan each package of bees into their tracking system. The bees are then placed in the wired containers which will be their home until they arrive at their final destination.

"Unloading thousands of packages of bees is a daunting task, but the LaFayette Post Office has it down to an art. Because overheating is a danger to the bees, the postal employees are careful in how they stack the bees. Good ventilation is key to their long journey," officials said.

Wayne Wilson, USPS Maintenance Clerk, has been helping Pigeon Mountain unload bees for two years now.  “Some people are scared of bee stings,” Mr. Wilson says. “But as long as you don’t swat at them they won’t sting you.

"Not swatting is hard. Even though there are millions of bees in boxes, there are about 50 flying around outside the packages. These bees didn’t escape from the package, they just attached to the outside of the package at the bee yard."

As Bobby Walker, PMTC Bee Specialist, said, “Oh the hitch hikers...they are just along for the ride.”

Once all of the bees are loaded into the Post Office containers, they will wait for the transport truck to arrive. This is the only part of the trip that they will be sitting outside in the elements. From here on out, they will either be in a truck, or inside a distribution center.

“It does get sunny out here as the morning progresses,” said Mr. Wilson. “But I will come out here throughout the morning and move the containers so the bees will stay in the shade. It’s this kind of dedication that keeps the bees healthy.

"As all of the bees are left to wait for their next step of the journey, you can hear the buzz in the air. There’s just nothing quite like the sound of millions of honeybees – and today it’s the sound of success, thanks in large part to the United States Post Office.

"Honeybees are essential to the world’s agricultural crops. They pollinate many of our plants, and without them, our food supply would dramatically decrease. It has been widely reported that honeybees around the world are disappearing for unknown reasons, commonly referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder. Pesticides, electromagnetic radiation, parasites, and global warming are just some of the suspected causes of colony collapse. As the honeybees face rising challenges, Pigeon Mountain Trading Company and the United States Post Office are working together to help grow the honeybee population."

“Selling package bees is just one way we can help ensure the honeybee population continues to thrive,” said Steve McCloud, owner of PMTC. “Over the past three years, we’ve sold over 21 tons of bees. Because of the 99% success rate that the USPS has in delivering bees, we feel confident that bees ordered from PMTC will arrive to their final destination in good condition.

“Many people think of bee keeping as just a hobby, but the more people we can get involved, the better off our planet will be,” Mr. McCloud says. “Because we sell everything a bee keeper needs, we can offer support to brand new bee keepers, as well as those with years of experience."

"Like many businesses today, all of the products -- even the live bees -- are available online. This internet presence allows Pigeon Mountain Trading Company to support bee keepers throughout the country. The bricks and mortar store, located in LaFayette, Georgia, offers all of the products you can find online. One of the apiaries, where the bees are grown, is located on the sides of Pigeon Mountain," officials said.

“I’ve been keeping bees since I was a kid helping my Grandfather,” said Mr. McCloud. “There’s just nothing more rewarding than watching a hive grow.  Except eating the honey,” he adds.

TNECD Announces 5 New Select Tennessee Certified Sites

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on Tuesday announced five new Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in 2012 to help Tennessee communities prepare available industrial sites for investment and expansion. The program sets rigorous standards to give companies reliable information when making location choices during ... (click for more)

Tennessee American Water Asks Suck Creek Customers To Voluntarily Conserve Non-essential Water Usage

Tennessee American Water is asking water customers in its Suck Creek District to voluntarily conserve water usage for non-essential purposes until further notice from the company. Extreme drought has caused decrease in the well capacity at the Suck Creek water plant. The Suck Creek wells provide two-thirds of the water for the approximately 250 customers in Suck Creek in Marion ... (click for more)

Cold Case Unit Makes Arrest In Murders Of Brothers In Brainerd Almost 20 Years Ago; Detectives Say Brainerd Jeweler Rick Davis Tied To Incident

The Cold Case Unit set up by District Attorney Neal Pinkston has made an arrest in the murders of two brothers in Brainerd almost 20 years ago. The Hamilton County Grand Jury on Monday indicted 52-year old Christopher Jeffre Johnson on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 1997 deaths of Sean and Donny Goetcheus. The 25-year old Sean Goetcheus and his ... (click for more)

Gang Member, 22, Shot In The Arm On Wilcox Boulevard Early Tuesday Morning

A 22-year-old man was shot in the arm in the 1800 block of Wilcox Boulevard early Tuesday morning. Just after midnight, Chattanooga Police responded to a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, police located Jakobi Buthelezi Johnson suffering from a very minor, single gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment. The victim ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Southerners Sing

Barry Norris plays the organ at Birmingham’s East Lake United Methodist Church and two days ago the church hosted what we used to call “A Singing on the Grounds.” Today it is called a “Hymnfest” and, believe it or not, it is has to be just as fun today as it was 100 years ago when our forefathers tied their horse and wagon to a tree. It just so happens I know a little bit about ... (click for more)