Installing a new hive

ralph's picture


 Installing bee colonies from a package  

Here is how I install a package of bees into a hive. We will assume that the hive is assembled and ready for bees. We assume also that you have ans are wearing proper bee gear - i.e. long sleeve shirt, long pants, a bee veil and gloves. It is also handy to have a hive tool, a pair of small vice-grips, and a brush.

When bee packages arrive, first make a solution of 1 cup sugar & 1 cup water, and spray this solution onto the bees in the package. This calms them down and gives them something to do. They actually lick the sugar water off of each other so it's like a bee social event as well. If you can’t install them right away keep them in a cool dark place.

When you are ready to install the bees, take the center five frames out of the hive body. Then lift the feeding can out of the package. I use vice-grips to grab the rim of the can and gently lift up. Find the queen cage and remove whatever covers the "candy barrier" to the queen's chamber - usually a cork. The sugar candy act as a temporary barrier and it will give the bees a couple of days to become adjusted to the queen and her phermerones while the bees eat through the candy. You can wedge the queen cage between two drawn frames or suspend it from undrawn frames with the use of a custom-bent paper clip of small piece of wire. Just be sure that the screen side of the queen cage is not against one of the two frames as this may suffocate the queen. Dump a few bees on top of queen, then place package with the rest of bees in the space created by removal of the five frames. Place the inner cover over this and then two 3/8" wooden strips on either side of the cover hole, and on top of these place a piece of plywood and a gallon sized ziplock with sugar water and Honey Bee Healthy. Cover this with an empty super and top. Place two bricks, one on each end of the hive top to prevent its being blown off in the wind.

In three days, come back and check the queen. If she is not out yet, poke a hole through the candy.

Replace all the frames, place the feeder bag directly on top of the frames, cover with an empty box and top.

If queen dies, then a new one must be obtained immediately.

Place a hive reducer over the entrance to minimize intrusion by other flying insects, etc.