Saturday, April 6, 2013

Installing a Package of Bees

A package of bees
Today I went and picked up a package of bees to put into a new hive. Now when you get a package of bees you get them in a box and you get about 10,000 worker bees, 1 queen in a little box, and a can of sugar syrup (bee food).
Before I went and picked up my package I mixed up a batch of sugar syrup. The recipe I used was 2 quarts of water and 4 pounds of sugar and some honey bee healthy to keep them healthy. There are so many different ratios and recipes out there that if you want to get into beekeeping you just have to do what's best for you.
First you boil your water and once it's started boiling you shut it off and then add the whole thing of sugar.
You then stir in the sugar until it has completely dissolved. Then you let it cool before adding the honey bee healthy and putting it into your container.
I put my sugar syrup into an old icing bucket from any bakery with small holes on top.
Now that you have your food made it's time to put the bees into the hive. Like the syrup recipe there are about 1,000,000 different methods to doing this. I'm going to share with you the way we have done it and had the best of luck doing.
The first step is to remove the syrup can and then the queen. As you can see from the top picture the bees surround the queen that hangs from the top of the cage and you need them at the bottom to remove the can without all the bees leaving. So what you do is give the box one good tap and they all drop to the bottom as shown in the second picture.
Next you remove the can of syrup and then cover the hole up with your hand or a piece of wood or something to cover it so not very many bees escape.

The queen is the one inside the box. There are a couple of bees dedicated to making sure she stays alive and they feed her through the cage. There is a little cork at the bottom of the cage that is sometimes made of candy that the bees chew through to release her. We leave her in there so that the bees get acquainted to her and won't kill her when she comes out. After a few days if she's still not out we will replace the cork with a marshmallow for them to chew out or just take the cork out and let her go.
You then remove one of your 10 frames from your hive body and wedge her in between 2 other frames so she is hanging and they can try to release her and can still feed her through the screen mesh.
After you got the queen in place you then tap the bees down again and remove the can again and then you can turn the box over and shake the bees out or like we did was place it upside down so they can go out when they want. The shaking method can be very intimidating for a first time beekeeper because the bees literally fly out and surround you and you have almost all the bees buzzing very madly around your head. After a few hours most of the bees will go out of the cage and down into the hive. You will then put your syrup container in and let them get started on producing more bees and honey!
Here Is a picture of me with the new hive :)


  1. This is really interesting Erin, thanks for sharing!

  2. I had to read the title of the blog twice...this is AWESOME!

    1. LOL!! I'm glad you checked it out!!