One of the most unnerving ideas for a new beekeeper is installing a beekeeping package. You’ve got a three pound package of bees in a little box and you’re supposed to shake it into your hive boxes? Shake a box of stinging insects? While it sounds crazy this is exactly what you’re going to do. Here’s the steps you’ll need for a successful installation.
1. Having the Hive Body and Gear Ready
Of course before you even begin you need to have your hive, sugar water and gear ready. Make sure your frames are ready to go and that the entire setup is where you want it. Make sure you have your frame tool, your hive tool and everything else you might need handy as this is not a great time to be running into the house to find something you’ve forgotten!
2. Get Your Gear On
If there’s ever a time to put on all your gear this is it. Make sure your veil is secured, your sleeves and pants legs are closed up and that you have your gloves on.
Once you’ve removed the can of sugar water from the package you’ll remove the queen cage and take out the cork that’s holding her in. Make sure you put your finger over the hole- you don’t want your new queen to fly away! Replace that cork with your mini marshmallow so the bees can slowly release the queen by eating through this delicious desert (no chocolate or graham cracker necessary).
4. Placing the Queen
Place the queen cage between two frames being extra careful not to drop the queen cage. The queen is the most important bee in the hive and so you want to treat her… like a queen!
5. Shaking the Bees
That’s right, turn that package box upside down and shake your bees into the hive. Yes, they will get a big cranky – you would too if someone shook out your home- but you’ve got your gear on and you’ll be OK. If every bee doesn’t come out simply place the box by the entrance to the hive and they’ll find their way inside.
6. Feeding the Bees
Your bees just got done with a big road trip and now they’re moving in to a new home so they want… PIZZA! No, not pizza, but they would love some delicious sugar water. Place that on the entrance if you’re using an entrance feeder or in the top feeder.
7. Close Her Up!
Put the hive back together and leave it alone for about at least a few days to about a week. Disturb them too soon and they might just think “hey, this new home has a lot of pesky intruders… maybe we should find a new place”. I know, you’re curious, but let them unpack a bit before you invite yourself over again.
Still think it’s crazy to shake bees? Watch Farmer Ron installing a package of bees in this great short video and see for yourself!Photo of Jessica Dally courtesy of Alex Earle earlealex (at) comcast.net