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.

3. Marshmallow

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)

One Response to “Shake, Shake, Shake! Installing Your Package of Bees.”

  1. Netiva

    The top feeder I bought from you didn’t work well with my bees. Too many just drowned in the sugar water.
    The front feeder is nice but empties too fast. So I bought a large top feeder over the whole hive but the bees so far are not visiting there very often.
    Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since I installed my first bees.
    Another point of interest, I’m getting red honey as there must be humming birds feeder in the neighborhood.


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