Beekeeping How to resource including Basic Beekeeping, how to spot a queen, splitting a hive, introducing a queen, swarm removal, beekeeping links and more.

Saul Creek Apiary

 

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Seguin TX

 How to install a Honey Bee Package

3lb Package of Bees Before Installation

#3 Package of Bees

FYI-  We do not sell Package bees, please visit our Beekeeping Links Page for Package bee Producers, Thank you!

If you have any questions about Beekeeping we welcome your emails.

Welcome to our package Bee Installation How to Page. We have included allot of information on this page and some may feel we have offered too much. If we help just one new Beekeeper hive their first package and maintain it successfully then the time and work that went into this page was well worth it.

We want your package Installation to be stress free not only on you but your Bees as well. You'll also notice we offer a little more information on installation than most Beekeeping web sites including two different installation methods. Much of what we will cover is from years of experience and is not meant to scare or discourage anyone from getting into Beekeeping. Always remember knowledge brings confidence. What may seem overwhelming at first will make more sense as you read not only what we have to offer but also what other web sites have to offer as well. When the big day arrives and you start your package installation, the knowledge you have gained will all come together to make your installation stress and trouble free.

Ordering your PackageThere are many Package Bee producers to choose from. Several things to take into consideration is the climate where you are located? Many Beekeepers like to purchase Bees from climates as close to theirs as possible which makes good sense as the Bees will have no problems getting accustomed to their new home meaning less stress. If the Bees will be shipped via a commercial carrier, distance is also a factor. Less time in shipment means less stress on the Bees. Bees are expensive so do your homework and purchase from a reputable producer. Does the size of the producer matter?  NO!  Many would be surprised where their Bees come from. Many large producers run out of their own stock and rely on smaller operations to fill their orders as the season progresses. Small operations can and do produce high quality package Bees just the same as larger ones and in some cases offer their packages at a lower rate due to lower overhead. What does matter when ordering package Bees and is more important than everyone of the 3# of Bees in the package is the Queen. The Queen is the life of the colony and her quality or lack of will determine how your colony does weeks after you've hived them. What is surprising to many is that everyone of the workers in your package will be dead within a few short weeks due to their short life span. The only one that will remain is the Queen. The fact is that the Bees shipped in your package are there to get the colony started, they basically do all the work getting comb pulled so the Queen can lay eggs for the colonies survival and to store Pollen, Nectar and Honey. Make sure the producer you purchase from is just as concerned with the quality of their Queens as they are making sure you receive two three or four pounds of Bees.

Receiving or Picking up your Package/s : The Big Day Has Arrived!  We are including this info simply because others don't and we feel it's just as or more important than the actual installation process. You have to keep in mind that Bees are insects and they are fragile. From the time the package/s leaves the producer for shipment to the time you receive the them, the Bees are in non Beekeepers care and most often handled as common cargo. Everything that happens to the Bees while in shipment puts stress on them. The sooner you take control/ care of the Bees the greater their chances of survival and successfully building the colony up quickly will be. First, make sure you know exactly when your Bees will arrive or when you are to pick them up from the producer. If they are being shipped via USPS then pay a visit to the post office a few days before they arrive. Make arrangements for them to call you when the Bees arrive. Letting them take a ride in Postal truck is added stress and chances are good they leave them by your mailbox which can be a disaster depending on the weather conditions. If being shipped UPS make arrangements to pick them up from the UPS terminal. Riding around in a hot dusty van or delivery truck classifies as extreme stress. When you pick them up, DO NOT place the Bees in the trunk of a car. Temperatures can build rapidly in a closed non vented trunk which will kill them quickly. DO NOT set them unprotected in the open bed of a truck. If you are going to transport the Bees in the bed of a truck be sure to cover the bees enough to give adequate shade and to prevent direct blowing wind on them.

Check the Condition of your Bees: Upon receiving your Bees check the condition of the package. Damage to the outside could result in damage to the Queen or Bees from rough handling during transit. Make a note of any damage and bring it to the attention of the Postal Office or UPS Carrier. Take Pictures for later reference.

Dead Bees on the bottom of the package: When you receive your package you will notice the Bees are clumped around the top of the package. This is where the Queen and Can of Sugar Syrup are located. Some dead Bees on the bottom of the shipping package is normal and should not be cause for concern. Most Package Producers actually pack additional Bees to cover any loses that may occur during transit. Many times these deaths are not caused from rough handling but the natural life cycle of the Honey Bee. Any more than 3/4 of an inch of Bees should be brought to the attention of the producer.

Warning: Package Bees are shipped with Sugar Syrup which will attract ants. Keep this in mind when placing your new package in a cool dry shaded place before hiving.

Storing your package before Installation When your Bees arrive or when you get them home place them in a dry cool place. Make sure they are well shaded and not directly in the sun. While your Bees are waiting to be packaged they will attract other Bees. The Bees seen on the outside of the package are not Bees that have escaped. Keep your fingers off the mesh screen and do not allow children to touch the screen as they may get stung.

Package Bee Facts:  

Queen Cage with attendandts showing marked Queen (Green Dot) and Candy.

Queen Cage With Attendant Bees

Queen Cage with Cork still intact.

Cork Plug

Preparing the Hive:

At least two days before your package is scheduled to arrive have you hive set up and ready. When setting your hive make sure to slightly tilt the bottom board toward the front or hive opening to prevent rain water from running into the hive. You do not want moisture inside the hive. When you are hiving a package for the Brood Chamber you will only want to use 1 Deep or 1 Super if using only Supers. You will also need an entrance or interior feeder. We prefer an entrance feeder due to the fact you can monitor the level to prevent it from running dry.

Package Bees Sitting on Hive Bodies

Optional PreparationFrames with foundation or drawn comb (if available), can be lightly sprayed with sugar syrup which aids in getting the Bees to start drawing the comb out.

Hive Check List:

 

If you have any questions about Beekeeping we welcome your emails.

Package Installation

Shake Out Method:

For some Beekeepers this is the only way to hive a package. Having the hive in place top off remove one frame from the center of the hive. Spray or drizzle the Bees with a generous amount of sugar syrup on the Bees.

Step 1.  Remove three to four frames from the center of the hive

Step 2.   Remove the card board top cover from the shipping package with your hive tool or knife (the cardboard cover is there to hold in the can of sugar syrup, not to keep the Bees in place, Bees will not come out when the card board cover is removed)

Step 3Pick the package up and sharply knock it on the ground to knock the Bees off the sides and top

Step 4.  Using a knife or other tool, pry up and remove the can of Sugar Syrup from the Package

Step 5Remove the caged Queen from the package (the Queen cage is shipped with either a strip of aluminum or wire attached to it so that it can be attached to a frame within the hive. DO NOT remove the wire or strip)

Step 6Turn the package over with the opening directly over the top of the hive. Shake the Bees out of the Shipping Package directly into the frames.

Step 7 Remove the Cork from the Candy end of the Queen Cage and using a nail make a hole through the candy which will aid the workers both inside the Queen cage and outside eat through the candy to release the Queen.

Step 8Using a thumb Tack or small nail, securely attach the Queen Cage to the frame which was previously removed with the mesh screen facing outwards between frames

Queen cage sitting on top of hive frames with bees

Docile Bees Bees on Queen cage showing Queen acceptance

Step 9Replace the frame with Queen Caged attached (make sure the Queen is facing outwards ant facing the wax foundation. the wire mesh should be clear and easily accessible for the Bees to access the wire mesh of the Queen cage)

Note:  In order to replace the removed frame with Queen Cage attached it may be necessary to remove one or two outer frames to allow room the frame to be re-inserted. Make sure the Queen cage is facing toward the length of the frames and not toward the wax foundation.

Step 10.  Replace any frames that were removed from Step 1.

Step 11.  Replace inner and top covers

Step 12 Pour any remaining contents of the syrup that shipped with the Bees into the feeder jar and top off with sugar syrup

Exterior Hive Feeder

Leave Bees alone for at least 5 days. On the fifth day open hive to check if Queen has been released and laying eggs. If Queen has not been released check to make sure Cork was removed from the candy end. If Cork was removed using a sharp object, wallow out a hole in the candy to aid in the queens release. Be careful not to damage the Queen. If Queen has been released remove the Queen Cage and close the covers. On the 5th day after installation check to make sure the Queen has been released. If the Queen has not been released check to see that the Bees are accepting the Queen. This can be done by observing how the Bees are acting on the outside of the Queen Cage (see picture below) for aggressive behavior such as biting at the cage. Aggressive behavior is easy to see as the Bees will seem agitated and will move about quickly on the Queen Cage. Bees that are calm such as the ones in the picture below have accepted their new Queen. At this time the Queen can be released from her cage by removing the cork from the end opposite the candy. Replace the Queen Cage and let the Queen come out on her own, DO NOT try to remover her yourself. If the Queen has been released remove the Queen Cage and close the hive Covers. 

Queen being introduced into hive for observation

Docile Bees on Queen cage showing Queen acceptance

Optional Shake In Method:

An optional and less aggressive and by far the easiest method we have found of installing Package Bees is to lay the Package on its side (one side of the screen mesh facing up). Using a flat tipped screw driver pry the thin wooden strips on one half of the exposed side that secures the screen mesh to the shipping package (all you need to remove one half of the strips allowing half of the exposed mesh to be pulled away and folded back). Once the strips are removed fold back the screen mesh and all the Bees will smoothly slide out of shipping package into the hive. No aggressive shaking or raping on the package. Remove the Card Board from the top and remove the Sugar Syrup Can. Remove the Queen and secure her to a frame (see Step 8. above) If any bees are left inside place the package directly in front of the hive and the remaining Bees will enter on their own.

Note:  We will be posting pictures of this process soon

If you have any questions about Beekeeping we welcome your emails.


Set-In Method:

This method is less stressful on both the Bees and the Beekeeper.

3lb Package Installed On Drawn Comb

Step 1.  Start out by removing four to five frames from one side

Step 2.  Remove the Card Board cover from the shipping package with either a hive tool or knife (the cardboard cover is there to hold in the can of sugar syrup, not to keep the Bees in place, Bees will not come out when the card board cover is removed)

Step 3.  Remove the can of Syrup from the Package.

Step 4.  Remove the Queen Cage from the package (the Queen cage is shipped with either a strip of aluminum or wire attached to it so that it can be attached to a frame within the hive. DO NOT remove the wire or strip)

Step 5.  Place the package directly in the hive body Bees and all in the space where the frames were removed from

Step 6.  Remove the Cork from the Candy end of the Queen Cage and using a nail make a hole through the candy which will aid the workers both inside the Queen cage and outside eat through the candy to release the Queen.

Step 7.  Using a Thumb Tack, secure the Queen Cage to the frame directly next to the shipping package in the center of the 6th and 7th frames

Queen cage sitting on top of hive frames with bees

Queen Cage before attaching to frame

Step 8.  Replace Inner Cover and Top

Step 9.  Fill Feeder Jar with remaining sugar syrup that was shipped with the Bees. Top Off Sugar Water if needed and place Feeder Jar in Feeder

Exterior Hive Feeder

One day after installing the package remove the top of the hive and remove the Shipping Cage from the Hive and replace the frames. Do not disturb the Queen Cage. Shake out any remaining Bees left in the package on the ground in front of the hive. Leave Bees alone for at least 3 more days. On the 5th day after installation check to make sure the Queen has been released. If the Queen has not been released check to see that the Bees are accepting the Queen. This can be done by observing how the Bees are acting on the outside of the Queen Cage (see picture below) for aggressive behavior such as biting at the cage. Aggressive behavior is easy to see as the Bees will seem agitated and will move about quickly on the Queen Cage. Bees that are calm such as the ones in the picture below have accepted their new Queen. At this time the Queen can be released from her cage by removing the cork from the end opposite the candy. Replace the Queen Cage and let the Queen come out on her own, DO NOT try to remover her yourself. If the Queen has been released remove the Queen Cage and close the hive Covers. 

Queen being introduced into hive for observation

If you have any questions about Beekeeping we welcome your emails.


Additional Package Bee Hiving Information

Hiving Tips:

If you have any questions about Beekeeping we welcome your emails.


Click on pictures or Text for more information.

 

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KTBH Kenyan Top Bar Hive

 

TBH Top Bar Hive Package Bee Installation

 

Top Bar Hive Beekeeping

Splitting a Honey Bee Colony

Nuc boxes next to main Hive being split. Splitting a Hive to make two additional Hives.

Honey Bee Colony Split Increase your apiary numbers.

How to Install Wax Foundation

Wax Foundation Installed and Imbedded in Assembled Wired Frame.

How to installation of Wax Foundation

 

 

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