NORTH POLE — There were 308,000 honeybees at the North Pole Grange last weekend, and this time, they were all invited to be there.

The North Pole Grange served as a distribution point for 10 beekeepers, who ordered the bees from Sarah’s Alaska Honey of Soldotna. The bees arrived in 22 packages with 4 pounds of bees in each package. There were 14,000 bees in each package.

Back in 2014, a hive of about 100 bees invaded the roof of the grange and organizers had to cancel weekend events at the historic building. That gave them time to figure out how to safely evict the invaders. An expert beekeeper removed 12 honeycombs from an area in the ceiling. That whole episode generated local interest in beekeeping.

“Truth of the matter is, that’s how I initially got interested in the bees,” said John Poirrier, president of the North Pole Grange. “The beekeeper guy talked about bees and I thought, ‘that sounds real interesting. I want to try that.’”

The following season, he ordered bees.

“I’ve been keeping bees ever since,” he said.

In March, the grange hosted an Introduction To Beekeeping class, and 50 people enrolled. Many of them ordered bees, which were due to be delivered in late April.

The trip north was a little rough for the honeybees. Their journey was delayed when a forklift ran into the bee pallet at Sea-Tac International Airport, but they finally arrived the evening of April 25. Beekeepers picked up the packages, and the honeybees are now all safely nestled in their new hives.


Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.