Buzzing Through the Mail

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Queen honeybee cage

After the Post Office Department introduced Parcel Post Service in 1913 packages began flooding the mails. The service’s growth was phenomenal. During the first six months of operation approximately 300 million parcels were handled and the introduction of collect-on-delivery service on July 1, 1913 only added to the popularity.

Some of the most enthusiastic parcel post users were America’s farmers. The service gave them a steady shipping system with standardized, nationally-used prices. Others who embraced the new system with enthusiasm were the nation’s bee keepers. For a relatively small amount, an apiarist could purchase, sell or trade queen bees with anyone across the country.

Some live animals and insects can still be found in the mail stream today. But the Postal Service has a number of rules determining what can be carried and how. For instance, live bees are still allowed in the mail, poisonous insects are not.