If you take a good look, you can see that all of the bees in the bottom of the cage are dead. The only ones that survived are hanging on the sides and the top. The cage itself was sticky and gooey from where it was covered in sugar syrup. Even the queen and her attendants were dead too, and the candy to hold her inside was partially melted. Some of the living bees hanging on the top and sides of the cage had dead bees glued to them, and there were living bees barely moving, crushed and smothering under the bodies of the all the dead bees below. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. If I'd known they would have to go through such harsh treatment, I would have never ordered them to begin with.
Now take a good look at the picture to the right. What you see is a United States Postal Service crate, a cardboard box, and a large plastic bag. C&H Apiaries blames UPS..who shipped them...for sending them to me in the containers you see on the right. Whoever did it took the screened cage of bees, turned them on their side and put them in the postal service crate, placed that inside the cardboard box which was sealed tight with shipping tape, then it was wrapped in the plastic bag.
No joke, when I opened the box, I could barely hear them buzzing, and the intense heat from the inside hit me in the face.
I immediately put them in the shade of my garage and sprayed them with water because I knew they had to be thirsty. And occasionally I would shake the cage to help the living bees crawl out from under the dead ones. The last thing they needed was more syrup. But I knew they needed water, so I sprayed them throught the night and the next morning so they could get some nourishment.
I made countless calls to UPS about their incompetence in shipping honey bees in sealed containers. The customer service supervisor even said, "Common sense tells you that you don't put living, breathing creatures in a box where they can't get air..." That was on top of countless apologies from several UPS representatives. Oh, and UPS also told me they would have to refund the shipping costs to C&H Apiaries.
It appears that the bees left Ocilla, Georgia, then they went to Tifton, Georgia. From there, they were flown to Jacksonville, Florida, where they stayed for almost a day, then they were flown to Greensboro, North Carolina -- and from there, delivered to my house in a big brown truck...most of them dead.
When I finally spoke to Terry Hester of C&H Apiaries, he told me over and over that he would "make it right" -- but he hasn't -- and now I'm out of my money and my patience with the situation. And as of this writing, there are quite a few people, more than before, who are upset with their bee package purchases. Many like me received dead bees and now Hester isn't answering anyone's calls or emails anymore. Plus UPS told me that he gets my shipping costs refunded to him for the damaged freight. Don't even get me started about that!
I got an email from a guy today in the very same situation as me except he lost twice the money I did. He told me that he's contacted a friend of his who is a lawyer to see what can be done about it, and I've asked him to keep me posted on the situation. I am also speaking to people in law enforcement and the legal profession as well. Someone needs to be held accountable for bad product and then ignoring complaints from your customers. It isn't right and I don't plan to let it slide.
We'll see where it goes. And of course I'll let you know.